History of The 81st

(A collection from Linn Barringer's and Jim & Maureen Tansey's Web Pages as submitted by Chuck Wrobel in 1999)

Lineage

Established as 81st Fighter Wing on 15 Apr 1948.Linn Activated on 1 May 1948.
Redesignated: 81st Fighter-Interceptor Wing on 20 Jan 1950; 81st Fighter-Bomber Wing on 1 Apr 1954; 81st Tactical Fighter Wing on 8 Jul 1958.
Inactivated on 1 Jul 1993.
Redesignated 81st Training Wing, and activated, on 1 Jul 1993.

Assignments

The 7th Air Division, 1 May 1948
Pacific Air Command, 3 Sep 1948
Twelfth Air Force, 21 May 1949 attached to Western Air Defense Force, 10 Nov 1949-)
Fourth Air Force, 1 Apr 1950 (remained attached to Western Air Defense Force to 1 Aug 1950)
Western Air Defense Force, 1 Aug 1950 (attached to Third Air Force, 5-8 Sep 1951)
Third Air Force, 9 Sep 1951 (attached to 49th Air Division, Operational [later, 49th Air Division (Operational)], 1 Mar 1954-1 Jul 1956)
Seventeenth Air Force, 1 Jul 1961
Third Air Force, 1 Sep 1963-1 Jul 1993. Second Air Force, 1 Jul 1993-.

Components

Group. 81st: 1 May 1948 - 8 Feb 1955.Jim Squadrons. 78th: attached c. 22 Apr 1954-7 Feb 1955, assigned 8 Feb 1955-1 May 1992. 91st: attached c. 22 Apr 1954-7 Feb 1955, assigned 8 Feb 1955-14 Aug 1992. 92d: attached c. 22 Apr 1954-7 Feb 1955, assigned 8 Feb 1955-31 Mar 1993. 116th: attached 10 Feb-9 Aug 1951 (further attached to 81st Fighter-Interceptor Group). 509th: 1 Oct 1979- 1 Jun 1988. 510th: 1 Oct 1978-1 Oct 1992. 511th: 1 Jan 1980-1 Sep 1988. 527th Aggressor: 14 Jul 1988-30 Sep 1990.

Stations

Wheeler AFB, Territory of Hawaii, 1 May 1948-21 May 1949; Camp Stoneman, CA, 27 May 1949; Kirtland AFB, NM, 5 Jun 1949; Moses Lake (later, Larson) AFB, WA, 2 May 1950 -16 Aug 1951; Bentwaters RAF Station (later, RAF Bentwaters), England, 6 Sep 1951 - 1 Jul 1993. Keesler AFB, MS, 1 Jul 1993 -.

Commanders

Col Thomas W. Blackburn, 1 May 1948
Maureen Lt Col Francis R. Royal, 21 May 1949
Col Thomas W. Blackburn, (by 28) Jun 1949
Col Gladwyn E. Pinkston, 28 Apr 1950
Col Robert F. Harris, 22 Aug 1951
Col Gladwyn E. Pinkston, 27 Sep 1951
Col Robert F. Harris, c. 3 Jan 1953
Col Gladwyn E. Pinkston, c. 20 Feb1953
Col Robert J. Garrigan, 20 Jun 1953
Col Gladwyn E. Pinkston, c. 20 Aug 1953
Col Harold N. Holt, 2 Jun 1954
Col Ivan W. McElroy, 10 Jun 1955
Col Lester L. Krause, Jr., 18 Jun 1957
Col Henry L. Crouch, Jr., 8 Jul 1957
Col James R. DuBose, Jr., 6 May 1960
Col Eugene L. Strickland, 9 Jul 1960
Col William C. Clark, 9 Jul 1962
Col Robin Olds, 9 Aug 1963
Brig Gen DeWitt R. Searles, 26 Jul 1965
Col Ramon R. Melton, 28 Jul 1967
Col George S. Dorman, 5 Jul 1968
Col Devol Brett,25 Sep 1968
Col David J. Schmerbeck, 29 Aug 1969
Col John C. Bartholf, 6 Mar 1970
Col James W. Enos, 4 Sep 1970
Col Dwaine L. Weatherwax, 22 Jun 1971
Brig Gen Charles E. Word, 16 Aug 1972
Col John R. Paulk, 19 Apr 1974
Brig Gen Clyde H. Garner, 14 Mar 1975
Col Gerald D. Larson, 11 Feb 1976
Brig Gen Rudolph F. Wacker, 6 May 1977
Col Gordon E. Williams, 7 Aug 1979
Brig Gen Richard M. Pascoe, 24 Apr 1981
Brig Gen Dale C. Tabor, 2 Aug 1982
Col Lester P. Brown, Jr., 20 Mar 1984
Col William A. Studer, 26 Mar 1986
Col Harold H. Rhoden, 30 Jul 1987
Col Tad J. Oelstrom, 5 Aug 1988
Col Roger E. Carleton, 13 Jul 1990
Col Roger R. Radcliff, 12 Jul 1991-1 Jul 1993.

Aircraft

P (later, F)-47, 1948-1949
F-80C, 1949
F-86A, 1949-1955
P (later F)-51, 1951
F-84F, 1954-1959
F-101B, 1958-1966
F-4C, 1965-1979
A-10A, 1978-1993
F-16A, 1988-1990.

Operations

Conducted air defense of Hawaii, Dec 1948-May 1949. Moved to the United States and converted to F-80s and then F-86s. Became part of Western Air Defense Force's air defense structure in Nov 1949 and moved to the Pacific northwest in 1950 to provide air defense from Larson AFB, Geiger Field, and Whidbey Island, WA. Moved to England in mid-1951. From 1951 to mid-1954, worked with Royal Air Force Fighter Command to provide air defense for a portion of England. Changed in 1954 from fighter-interceptor to fighter-bomber operations, using both conventional and nuclear weapons. Charged with tactical operations in support of USAFE and NATO, with air defense as a secondary mission, 1954-1979 and 1988-1990. Also operated out of RAF Woodbridge, 1958-1993. Began conversion to A-10s in late 1978, and the mission changed to provide close air support and battlefield air interdiction in support of NATO ground forces. Conducted joint operations with US and British ground forces training for close air support. Participated continually in rotational deployments to specified wartime operating locations throughout Europe. Winner of A-10 category of the 1987 USAF Gunsmoke Gunnery meet. Added the 527th Aggressor Squadron, flying F-16s in 1988. This squadron provided the only Dissimilar Aircraft Combat Tactics training for USAFE and NATO pilots in Europe, from Jul 1988 to Sep 1990, when it inactivated. Conducted escort missions with A-10s for Coalition airlift forces during relief efforts in Turkey and northern Iraq, 6 Apr 1991-8 Dec 1992. Began preparation for base closure in Dec 1992, ending flying operations on 1 Apr 1993.

Honors

Service Streamers. None.
Campaign Streamers. None.
Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers. None.
Decorations. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 28 Mar 1959-30 Jun 1961; 1 Jul 1961- 30 Jun 1963; 1 Jun 1966-31 May 1968; 1 Jul 1968-30 Jun 1970; 1 Jul 1976- 30 Jun 1978; 1 Jul 1979-30 Jun 1981; 1 Jul 1981-30 Jun 1983; 1 Jun 1989-31 May 1991; 1 Jun 1991-30 Jun 1993.
Bestowed Honors. Authorized to display honors earned by the 81st Fighter Group prior to 1 May 1948.
Service Streamers. None.
Campaign Streamers. World War II: Algeria-French Morocco; Tunisia; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Air Combat, EAME Theater; China Defensive, China Offensive.
Decorations. None.

Emblem

Or a dragon salient wings displayed and addorsed Azure armed and langued Gules, incensed proper, holding in its dexter claw a stylized boll weevil Sable. Motto: LE NOM LES ARMES LA LOYAUTE-The name, the arms, and loyalty. Approved for the 81st Group on 2 Mar 1943 and the 81st Wing on 14 May 1956.
(152220 A.C.).

Collected and distributed by Chuck Wrobel