162nd Air Guardian History
The Early Years
The unit's history dates back to 1956 when the 152nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Arizona Air National Guard flew the Korean War vintage F-86A. At that time the "base" consisted of an old adobe farmhouse and a dirt-floor hangar with enough space for three aircraft.
Despite the facility limitations, the Air Defense Command's Headquarters 4th Air Force judged the 152nd FIS outstanding in accomplishing its air defense mission. It declared the unit "Best in the West" in the 1950s and the early 1960s. Late in 1968, the unit received its first of five Air Force Outstanding Unit Citations for converting from the F-100 day-fighter to the all-weather F-102 "Delta Dagger" interceptor aircraft in just 10 months. The unit did it faster and better than any other Air National Guard unit converting to the F-102. The Air National Guard officially redesignated the unit as the 162nd Tactical Fighter Training Group and the 152nd Tactical Fighter Squadron in 1969. The unit's new job was producing combat-ready pilots for the F-100 aircraft. They graduated their first students in 1970. Shortly afterward, the unit formed the Air National Guard Fighter Weapons School in Tucson. This school taught Air Guard and Reserve fighter pilots from throughout the country to effectively use advanced tactics and weapons technology.