(Photo visual: USAF John M Dibbs, 2007, 90th anniversary special colors)
Like most ANG units, the 111th Texas ANG also uses the F-16C block 25. The history of the 111th goes way back, flying numerous aircraft types, including P-51s, F-102s, F-101s and F-4s. This is also the squadron where president George W. Bush served. AviaMagazine.com looks into the history and present state of the "Ace in the Hole" squadron located at Ellington ANGB, Texas.
Organized at Kelly Field, TX, on 14 August 1917 as the 111th Aero Squadron, Air Service, this supply unit was re-designated 632nd Aero Squadron on 1 February 1918 but remained at Kelly Field until demobilized on 19 August 1919. In 1936, its lineage and honours were consolidated with those of the 111th OS which had been activated as a Texas NG unit in June 1923.
|Unit:||111th Fighter Squadron|
|Nickname:||"Ace in the Hole"|
|Wing:||147th Fighter Wing (1st AF)|
|Location:||Ellington Field ANGB, TX|
|Aircraft:||F-16C/D ('EF'), C-26B|
|29 June 1923||111th OS extended federal recognition at Ellington Field, Houston, as the aviation unit in the 36th Division, Texas NG, and initially equipped with Curtiss JN-4B and JN-4H trainers.|
|Dec 1928||Relocated to Houston MAP|
|1928-1940||Remaining based in Houston, the 111th OS was equipped over the years with the mix of aircraft typical of pre-war Guard units, including Consolidated PT-1's, PT-3's and O-17's; D Dayton-Wright TW-3's; Douglas O-2's, O-38's and O-43's; and North American O-47's and BC-1's.|
|25 Nov 1940||Called to active duty and assigned to Eight Corps Area but initially remained in Houston. On 31 December 1940 it had one BC-1A, six O-43A's and five O-47A/B's.|
|W.O. II||First moving to Brownwood, TX, in January 1941, the mobilized Texas NG unit moved three times and was re-designated on three occasions before being shipped to North Africa (via England) in the fall of 1942. In North Africa, it flew ASW, convoy and border patrols with Douglas A-20A's before being reorganized as a reconnaissance unit. Successively equipped with A-36A, P-51 and F-6 versions of the North American Mustang, the 111th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter)/Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was assigned to the 12th AF and flew combat operations in the MTO and ETO from July 1943 until VE Day.
Inactivated at Creil, France, in December 1945, it was reconstituted and re-designated the 111th FS before being shipped back to the Texas NG on 24 May 1946.|
|9 Feb 1947||111th FS (SE) extended federal recognition at Ellington Field, Houston, and soon equipped with North American P-51D's (plus support aircraft).|
|April 1949||Ellington Field became Ellington AFB.|
On the 10th of October 1950 the 111th was called to active duty as part of the Korean War call-up and moved two weeks later to Langley AFB, VA, where it was re-designated 111th FBS and converted to Republic F-84E Thunderjets. In May 1951, personnel shipped to Japan to take over F-84E's of the 27th FES at Itazuke AB.
Jul 1951 until Jul '52, combat operations with F-84E's from Itazuke AB and, beginning in November 1951, from Taegu AB (K-2) Korea. On 10 Jul 1952, the 111th returned to state control at Houston MAP to be reorganized as the 111th FIS and equipped with F-51H's. Jan 1953, re-designated 111th FBS. Jan 1955, re-designated 111th FIS and converted from F-51H's to Lockheed F-80C's. Oct 1956, relocated to Ellington AFB. Aug 1957, converted from F-80C's to North American F-86D's. 9 Sep 1957, became ANG Jet instrument School, for which additional Lockheed T-33A's were assigned, while retaining F-86D's for air-defence duty. 17 May 1958, reached group status with federal recognition of the 147th FIG. Jun 1959, converted from F-86D's to F-86L's but retained T-33A's for the ANG Jet Instrument School.|
|60's ||On the 1st of July 1960 they became ADC, gained upon implementation of gaining command concept.
Aug 1960, converted from F-86L's to Convair F/TF-102A's but retained T-33A's for ANG Jet Instrument school. Jul 1968, Ellington AFB inactivated and transferred to local authorities with Guard facilities becoming the Ellington ANGS.|
1 Jan 1970, Group re-designated 147th Fighter Interceptor (Training) Group as the unit became the ANG F-102 CCTS while retaining T-33A's to continue running the ANG Jet Instrument School.
May 1971, Added McDonnell F-101B/F's. 1 Jan 1972, Unit also became the ANG F-101 CCTS while continuing as the F-102 CCTS and Jet Instrument School. Jan 1975, F/TF-102A's phased out.
30 Apr 1976, Duty as F-101 CCTS and ANG Jet Instrument School terminated but the 111th FIS continued to operate in the air-defence role.
1976, The 147th Combat Crew Training School graduated its last students and became a sole combat squadron. Oct 1978, Winner William Tell '78.|
1 Apr 1980, Became TAC again following ADC inactivation. Later that year in Oct 1980 the William Tell '80 competition was won.
1981, Converted from F-101B/F's to Mc Donnell F-4C Phantom. Most F-4C's came from the 58th TTW at Luke AFB. Jan 1987 conversion from F-4C's to F-4D's was completed; most F-4D's came from the 31 TFW at
Homestead AFB and the 184th TFTG, KS ANG at Mc Connell AFB. The F-4D's stood Air Defense alert at Holloman AFB, NM until the squadron began its conversion to the F-16A/B in 1989.
1 Dec 1989, Conversion started from F-4D's to General Dynamics F-16A/B's.|
|90's||During 1991 the F-16A/B's upgraded to ADF configuration. 15 Mar 1992, unit designation changed to 111th Fighter Squadron, 147th Fighter Group. 1 Jun 1992, as part of the Air Force restructuring program, gaining command changed to ACC. Late 1996, the ADF F-16A/B's were replaced with Block 25 F-16C/D's. The last F-16A ADF left the 111th FS in 1997.|
|11 Sep 2001||After the attacks on World Trade Centre 2 F-16C's from 111 FS escorted 'Air Force 1'with
President George W. Bush to Barksdale AFB. The president was escorted by his old ANG unit!|
|June 2008||redesignated to 111th Reconnaissance Squadron, flying the MQ-1 Predator.|
Currently the 111st FS is the front line of defense for the Texas Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Brownsville. Two F-16C's are fully armed on 24 hours alert, seven days a week.