108th Operations Group hosts New Jersey Air National Guard Tanker Gala

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt Michael Hong
  • 108th Wing

The 108th Operations Group hosted a New Jersey Air National Guard Tanker Gala on Oct. 7, 2023, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The following was said in reference to the departure of the KC-135R Stratotanker and in honor of the members joining the 108th Wing from the 76th and 78th Air Refueling squadrons:

“The KC-135 and the air refueling portion of the 108th’s history dates back to Oct. 1991, when the unit was redesignated as the 108th Air Refueling Wing,” said Lt. Col. Jason Tiger, 108th Operations Group deputy commander.  “Then in 1993, the 170th Air Refueling Group consolidated with the 108th Air Refueling Wing.”

“The 170th Air Refueling Group, including the 150th Air Refueling Squadron was established at Newark Airport, New Jersey, on Feb. 1, 1956, and transferred to McGuire Air Force Base in July of 1965,” Tiger said. “The 108th welcomed the 150th Air Refueling Squadron’s 37-year experience in airlift and air refueling operations, and its 130,454 accident-free flying hours—recognized as the world’s safest flying record.”

“With 70,000 hours of operational flying since 9/11—or 8 years of continuous flying, klaxons, nuclear message traffic, inspections, and deployments, we salute the service of the KC-135 to the state and the nation,” said Tiger.

Among the crowd—and slated to join the newly formed 170th Air Refueling Squadron—were some current and former members of the 514th Air Mobility Wing’s 76th and 78th Air Refueling Squadrons.

“The 76th was activated in 1943,” said Tiger. “On June 6, 1994, the 76th’s aircrew flew over Normandy Beach dropping paratroopers for the D-Day invasion.”

“Shortly after the unit was inactivated,” Tiger said. “The 76th went through several activations and inactivations until redesignated the 76th Air Refueling Squadron in 1994—flying the KC-10 Extender.”

“Like its sister squadron, after activation in 1943, the 78th flew its first combat missions on D-Day by dropping paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division onto Normandy Beach,” Tiger said. “After several active and inactive statuses, the 78th was designated as an air refueling squadron in 1981 flying the KC-10. Afterwards, the 78th was aligned under the 514th Operations Group in 1994.”

“Since then, the two squadrons have acquired tens of thousands of hours of operational flying while protecting and serving the nation at home and abroad,” said Tiger. “We salute these two squadrons and their service to our country.”