122nd Fighter Wings Commanders Welcome
Published August 26, 2013
I am proud to welcome you to the 122nd Fighter Wing, home of the Blacksnakes. The mission of the 122FW is to maintain well trained, adaptable Airmen and highly maintained A-10C aircraft available immediately for combat operations and combat support anywhere in the world. During peacetime operations, we take pride in assisting local authorities with rescue and relief operations in the event of a natural disaster, disturbance or other emergency while protecting the citizens of Indiana and their property. The vision of the 122nd Fighter Wing is to be America's premier attack wing delivering unrivaled combat operations in support of our nation's defense with an eye towards the future while continuing to recognize our past.
The122nd Fighter Wing has flown only fighter aircraft during its 66 years of service which include the P-51, F-80, F-84, F-86, F-100, F-4, F-16 and A-10. The Wing traces its heritage back to the 358th Fighter Group which was activated in January 1943, flying the P-47D "Thunderbolts." During WWII they flew interdiction and bomber escort missions from England until D-Day. As the allies advanced they took on the role of ground support, to include "tank-busting." Following the surrender of Germany, the group re-deployed to the United States in July 1945, and were officially inactivated the following November. In May 1946, the group was re-designated as the 163rd Fighter Squadron (later to become the 122nd Fighter Wing) and assigned with all honors and colors to the Indiana National Guard. During the war the 358th, known as the "Orange Tails" for their distinctive bright orange aircraft markings, was awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations, and the Croix de Guerre. As a unit, we maintain and fly 18 A-10 Thunderbolt II's, known as the Warthog. As a Joint Installation the 122nd Fighter Wing hosts the 338th Quartermaster Unit, Indiana Army National Guard. The airport is also known by its original name, Baer Field, named for 1st Lieutenant Paul Baer, a World War I flying ace and Fort Wayne native.
We are fortunate to have the incredible support of the Fort Wayne Community through the partnership of the Fort Wayne Base Community Council, Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, local community leaders and individual citizens. The newly formed Fort Wayne Base Community Council has shown great support not only to the 122nd Fighter Wing but to all 2,200 military members and their respective units in the Fort Wayne area. We are blessed to be able to give back by showing our support with community service projects, donation assistance and community outreach programs.
The economic impact to the Fort Wayne community that we provide averages over $62 million annually. The 122nd Fighter Wing continues to grow as renovations of over $78 million have been completed since 9/11 with many more renovations in work, tied closely to our A-10 conversion. The ramp, runway and other joint surfaces we share with the Airport Authority have seen improvements of over $25 million over the past decade, ensuring our ability to meet the facility needs of daily A-10 operations today and into the future.
As a country, we will continue to face future challenges, but whatever may come our way, the 122nd Fighter Wing will most assuredly honor our past by displaying the same standard of excellence, safety, pride and patriotism of those that sacrificed before us. I am truly thankful to be a part of this unit, the Fort Wayne community and the Indiana Air National Guard. All those that serve our nation at the 122nd Fighter Wing are extremely thankful for your support and extend to you a warm and friendly Blacksnake Family welcome!
122nd Fighter Wing, Commander