History of the 150 ARS

  • Published
  • By Col. Kevin J. Keehn
  • 108 Operations Group
At the end of March 2008 the Operations Group unfortunately had to deactivate the 150th Air Refueling Squadron due to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendation. The downsizing required us to cut some positions. This was done through retirements, transfers and some who left on their ETS.

Fortunately, the majority of our pilots, boom operators, admin and life support personnel flowed to the 141st Air Refueling Squadron. At a later date there will be an official transfer of the 150th ARS to another mission.

For now, I would like to offer a brief history of the 150th and some of its major contributions and accomplishments:

The unit began in 1956 at Newark Airport flying the C-46 Commando as part of the Air Transport Command (ATS). The C-46's primary mission was troop and cargo transport. The C-46 was retired in 1958 and was replaced by the C-119 Flying Boxcar or Old Shaky as it was affectionately known. Becoming part of Military Air Transport Command (MATS) in 1960, the unit continued to fly the C-119 through late 1961 when it converted to the C-121 Constellation, or Connie. The C-121 primarily flew Air Evac missions out of Southeast Asia and airlift support both for NATO and MATS throughout Northern Africa.

In the summer of 1965 the unit moved from Newark Airport to its present home at McGuire Air Force Base. In 1966 MATS changed to the Military Airlift Command (MAC). In 1971 the unit was notified that it would again be changing aircraft. The new aircraft would be the C-141. Along with the C-141 came notification that they would become an associate unit. Not wanting to lose the unit's heritage of true Citizen-Soldiers, the unit said no to the associate designation and ceased the conversion. A very gutsy call on the unit's part. The Air Force could have easily just shut them down.

In 1973 the unit was assigned the C-7 Caribou. Its new mission became airdrop and tactical airlift. Santa "Bou" became a normal fixture at Christmas. The C-7 nose would be painted like Santa and the aircraft was flown around the state. It would then land at McGuire and Santa would step out of the plane for the Christmas party.

The unit was notified in April 1977 that it would be changing major commands and be re-designated as the 150th Air Refueling Squadron, 170th Air Refueling Group. The unit would be receiving the KC-135A Stratotanker and become part of the Strategic Air Command. Air refueling, support of the nuclear triad and 24/7 hard alert would become the unit's new missions. This was significant for the unit because it entered them into the jet age and secured a long-term future for the unit.

The unit flew the "A" model until 1983 when it began its conversion to the KC-135E. In 1993 the 170th was notified - so much for long term - that it would be losing its flag and would be combined with the 108th Air Refueling Wing to form a two squadron tanker super wing. For the next 15 years the 150th would proudly serve the country.

BRAC changed things in 2005. The 108th found out it would be going to one squadron and the 150th would be closing its doors. As an air refueling squadron the 150th had a proud heritage. Listed below are some of its major contributions:
· 1989- Stateside support for Hurricane Hugo victims
· 1990- Operation Desert Shield - deployed to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
· 1991- Operation Desert Storm - various deployment locations
· 1992- Stateside support for Hurricane Andrew victims
· 1999- Noble Anvil - Turkey/Germany
· 2001- Operation Enduring Freedom - Thumrait, Oman
· 2003- Operation Iraqi Freedom - Spain/Azores
· 2005- Flew first Air Evac mission for NJANG in KC-135E
· 2005- Stateside support for Hurricane Katrina victims
· More than 52 years of accident free flying

Never did a call go out that the men and women of the 150th did not answer. Their accomplishments over the years have been both needed and noteworthy. They have provided outstanding service to both our state and nation. For those of you that are reading this and were part of the 150th I would like to thank each and every one of you. You should be proud of what you have done as members of the 150th. I want to thank you all for your hard work and the sacrifices you have endured to complete the mission. Your contributions to the operations group will not be forgotten.