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119th Wing
200px
119th Wing emblem
Active
Branch United States Air Force
Type Composite Wing
Role Intelligence, Transport
Part of Air National Guard/Air Combat Command/Air Mobility Command
Garrison/HQ Hector International Airport, North Dakota
Nickname The Happy Hooligans
Motto Guarding the Northland
Commanders
Current
commander
Colonel Rick Gibney


The United States Air Force's 119th Wing is an Air National Guard unit located at Hector International Airport, North Dakota flying the MQ-1 Predator Wikipedia and the Template:Wplnk.[1]

HistoryEdit

The announcement was made in March 1999 that the 119th Fighter Wing would convert from an air defense mission to a general purpose mission with 15 F-16A/B aircraft while activating an alert detachment at Langley AFB, VA.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Hector International Airport Air Guard Station, ND. The 119th Fighter Wing’s F-16s (15 aircraft) would retire. The wing’s expeditionary combat support elements would remain in place. Hector IAP, at 125th, ranked low in military value. The reduction in F-16 force structure and the need to align common versions of the F-16 at the same bases argued for realigning Hector IAP to allow its aircraft to retire without a flying mission backfill.

As of 2006 the NDANG has been flying the C-21 executive transport. They are also running a Predator flight ops squadron in Fargo and are flying missions every day in Iraq.

Previous designations[2]Edit

  • 119th Fighter Wing (1947–2006)
  • 119th Wing (2006–present)

Bases stationedEdit

File:North Dakota ANG F-16s before retirement 2006.JPEG|F-16C/Ds shortly before retirement, October 2006. Image:070110-F-0681L-133.jpg|An F-16 escorts a C-21, which eventually took over the flying role of the 119th, along with the MQ-1 Predator </gallery>

TimelineEdit

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Historycommons.org - link

(Between 8:48 a.m. and 9:09 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Langley Air Force Base Pilots Learn of WTC CrashEdit

At Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, the operations manager with the unit that is involved in NORAD’s air defense mission first learns that a plane has hit the World Trade Center in a phone call from his fiancée. He then receives a call from the unit’s intelligence officer, who warns that the pilots at Langley need to “get ready.” [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 116-117] Manager Learns of Attack - The alert unit at Langley Air Force Base is a small detachment from the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Fighter Wing, which is based in Fargo, ND. [NEW YORK TIMES, 11/15/2001; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 12/27/2006; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 114] Captain Craig Borgstrom is its operations manager. In the event of an order to scramble the unit’s two F-16s that are kept on “alert,” his job would be to man the battle cab and serve as the supervisor of flying (SOF), being responsible for getting any necessary information about the mission to the pilots. Borgstrom’s fiancée, Jen, calls him at the base and asks, “Did you hear that some airplane just ran into the World Trade Center?” [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 116; TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/8/2008] This is the first that Borgstrom has heard about the attack. [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 63] He replies, “Probably some idiot out sightseeing or someone trying to commit suicide in a Cessna 172,” but Jen tells him, “It’s a pretty big fire for a small airplane.” Intelligence Officer Warns, 'Get Ready' - The chief enlisted manager then enters Borgstrom’s office and informs him that Darrin Anderson, the unit’s intelligence officer, is on the phone from the wing’s base in Fargo, “and needs to talk to you right away.” Borgstrom heads to the main reception desk and takes the call. After asking if Borgstrom is aware of what happened in New York, Anderson tells him, “[W]e think there might be more to this, so you guys get ready.” Borgstrom tells the chief enlisted manager about this call and then heads out toward the alert hangars. Pilot Learns of Attack - Meanwhile, in one of the hangars, the crew chief goes upstairs with some information for Major Dean Eckmann, who is one of the pilots on alert duty. Eckmann is unaware of events in New York. When his crew chief informs him a plane has hit the WTC, he replies: “Poor, dumb sucker. I hope no one in the building got hurt.” Before Eckmann has a chance to switch on the television to check the news, a Klaxon horn sounds, indicating that the two alert pilots at Langley are to go to “battle stations.” [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 64; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 116-117] According to the 9/11 Commission, this battle stations signal occurs at 9:09 a.m. (see (9:09 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 24] Eckmann, along with Borgstrom and another of the unit’s pilots, will take off in order to defend Washington, DC at 9:30 a.m. (see (9:25 a.m.-9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 16 ; RIP CHORD, 12/31/2006] Entity Tags: Langley Air Force Base, Dean Eckmann, Darrin Anderson, Craig Borgstrom Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

9:09 a.m. September 11, 2001: NEADS Orders Langley Fighters to Battle Stations In response to learning of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center, NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) orders the two F-16 fighter jets kept on alert at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to battle stations. [AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 25 AND 88 ; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 112] Being at “battle stations” means the plane’s pilots are in the cockpits but with the engines turned off. [FILSON, 2003, PP. 55] Nasypany Wants to Scramble Jets - At NEADS, mission crew commander Major Kevin Nasypany is concerned that the two F-15s launched from Otis Air National Guard Base in response to Flight 11 are running out of fuel (see (9:09 a.m.) September 11, 2001) and has asked Colonel Robert Marr, the NEADS battle commander, to scramble the two F-16s kept on alert at Langley, so as to establish a greater presence over New York. But after conferring with Major General Larry Arnold, who is at the Continental US NORAD Region (CONR) headquarters in Florida, Marr orders “battle stations only at Langley.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 460; VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 112] Jets Put on Battle Stations - Marr and Arnold will tell the 9/11 Commission that the Langley jets are held on battle stations, rather than being scrambled, “because they might be called upon to relieve the Otis fighters over New York City if a refueling tanker was not located, and also because of the general uncertainty of the situation in the sky.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 25 ] Marr will also say that, after Flight 175 hit the WTC at 9:03 a.m., those at NEADS are “thinking New York City is under attack,” so the Langley pilots are ordered to battle stations, as “[t]he plan was to protect New York City.” [FILSON, 2003, PP. 60] Colonel Alan Scott, who is with Arnold at the CONR headquarters, will explain, “At 9:09, Langley F-16s are directed to battle stations, just based on the general situation and the breaking news, and the general developing feeling about what’s going on.” [9/11 COMMISSION, 5/23/2003; VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Although the 9/11 Commission and other accounts will state that the Langley jets are put on battle stations at 9:09 (see (9:09 a.m.) September 11, 2001), a BBC documentary will place this at 9:21, and journalist and author Jere Longman will indicate this does not happen until 9:24. [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 64; AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002; BBC, 9/1/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 24] Entity Tags: Robert Marr, Kevin Nasypany, Langley Air Force Base, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Larry Arnold, Alan Scott Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline (9:09 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Pilots at Langley Air Force Base Go to ‘Battle Stations’ Major Dean Eckmann. [Source: US Air Force] The two pilots on alert at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia are put on “battle stations,” and get into their fighter jets, ready to take off if required. [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 64; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 24] Being at “battle stations” means the pilots are in their planes’ cockpits with the engines turned off, but ready to start them and taxi out should a scramble order follow. [FILSON, 2003, PP. 55; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 27] NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) has ordered this in response to the news of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center and over concerns that the fighters launched from Otis Air National Guard base in response to Flight 11 might run out of fuel (see 9:09 a.m. September 11, 2001 and (9:09 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 460; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 88 ] According to journalist and author Jere Longman, the two “alert” pilots at Langley are currently “still in the dark about the gravity of the moment.” [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 64-65] Pilot Wonders If Order Connected to Events in New York - Major Dean Eckmann, one of the pilots on alert, will later recall: “The scramble horn goes off and we get the yellow light, which is our battle stations. So at that point I go running out to… my assigned alert airplane, get suited up, and I get into the cockpit ready to start.” [BBC, 9/1/2002] He asks his crew chief, “Do you think this has anything to do with New York?” The chief replies: “I can’t imagine how. The Otis guys could handle that.” Pilot Told 'This Is Just Precautionary' - Meanwhile, Captain Craig Borgstrom, the unit’s operations manager, is briefing the other alert pilot, Major Brad Derrig, on what he knows. He tells him: “There’s some wacky stuff happening. Some airplane just hit the World Trade Center. I don’t have any more information, but I’m sure this is just precautionary.” Borgstrom then heads out to give Eckmann the same brief, but has to stop to answer a phone call from NEADS (see (Between 9:10 a.m. and 9:23 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 118] Although the 9/11 Commission and other accounts will state that the Langley jets are placed on battle stations at 9:09, a BBC documentary will suggest this happens at 9:21, and Longman will indicate this does not occur until 9:24. [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 64; AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002; BBC, 9/1/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 24] The two alert jets, along with a third jet piloted by Borgstrom, will be ordered to scramble at 9:24 a.m. (see 9:24 a.m. September 11, 2001). [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 4/16/2002; 9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 16 ] Entity Tags: Craig Borgstrom, Langley Air Force Base, Dean Eckmann, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Brad Derrig Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

(Between 9:10 a.m. and 9:23 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NEADS Wants Third Jet Launched from Langley, Meaning Unit Will Have No Supervisor of Flying Edit

The operations manager with the unit at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, that is involved in NORAD’s air defense mission is instructed to prepare to launch three F-16s from the base, even though the unit only keeps two such jets on “alert.” [CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 4/16/2002; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 118] NEADS Calls Langley - Captain Craig Borgstrom is the operations manager of a detachment at Langley from the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Fighter Wing. In the event of an order to scramble the unit’s two alert F-16s, he would serve as the supervisor of flying (SOF), responsible for informing the pilots about their mission. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 114, 116] The unit has just received the signal to put its alert jets on “battle stations,” with the pilots in the cockpits but the engines turned off (see (9:09 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 64; FILSON, 2003, PP. 55; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 24] After briefing one of the two alert pilots, Borgstrom is called by the crew chief to answer a phone call from someone at NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) who wants to speak to him. In an urgent voice, the caller asks Borgstrom, “How many airplanes can you get airborne?” Borgstrom answers, “I have two F-16s at battle stations right now,” but the caller snaps: “That’s not what I asked! How many total aircraft can you launch?” Although Borgstrom is not on alert duty, he is an F-16 pilot. He responds: “Well, the only other pilot here is me—I can fly. I can give you three!” The caller instructs him: “Suit up and go fly! We need all of you at battle stations!” [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 65; CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, 4/16/2002; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 118] Third Pilot Means No Supervisor - According to author Lynn Spencer, this order “is almost unthinkable. If [Borgstrom] goes up, there will be no supervisor of flying. During a scramble, it is the SOF’s responsibility to monitor the jets—to work with local controllers to ensure priority handling and to make sure that the pilots are receiving lawful launch orders. The SOF stays in close communication with NEADS to get any and all information about the mission to pass on to his pilots, and assesses weather, airfield status, and spare alert aircraft status in case of an abort by one of the primary fighters. If Borgy flies, there not only will be no SOF, there will be no officer left at the detachment!” Borgstrom Notifies Others, Checks with Commander - Borgstrom heads out to inform others of the instruction. He speaks to one of the alert pilots, Major Dean Eckmann, telling him, “They want us to launch all planes and all pilots if we get scrambled!” According to Spencer, this request “doesn’t make any sense to Eckmann,” and his initial response is ”What?” But “he’s a military officer and he’ll follow orders,” and points Borgstrom to the unit’s third F-16, which is not kept on alert and is therefore unarmed. Borgstrom instructs the crew chief to arm the fighter’s gun; this will be the only ammunition he has when he takes off. After fetching his harness and helmet, he places a phone call to the commander of the 119th Fighter Wing, at the wing’s home in Fargo, North Dakota. Borgstrom is uncomfortable with the unprecedented situation he is in and feels compelled to notify his immediate higher-ups. He tells the commander: “Sir, they’re launching all three of us. I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s no ops supervision here at all!” The commander knows what has happened in New York from news reports, and so is aware of the situation. He tells Borgstrom: “Go! Our thoughts are with you. Godspeed.” Borgstrom then hangs up the phone and runs to his jet. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 118-119] The three Langley jets will receive a scramble order at 9:24 a.m. (see 9:24 a.m. September 11, 2001) and are airborne by 9:30 a.m. (see (9:25 a.m.-9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 16 ] Entity Tags: 119th Fighter Wing, Dean Eckmann, Craig Borgstrom, Langley Air Force Base, Northeast Air Defense Sector Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

9:24 a.m. September 11, 2001: Fighter Jets Scrambled from Langley Air Force Base Edit

Major Brad Derrig. [Source: ABC] At Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, the pilots of three F-16s receive the order to scramble (i.e. take off immediately). A Klaxon horn sounds and the status lights in the hangars change from yellow to green, notifying them of the order. [LONGMAN, 2002, PP. 65; FILSON, 2003, PP. 63; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 141] The fighter jets belong to the North Dakota Air National Guard’s 119th Fighter Wing. The wing has a small detachment at Langley that serves as one of NORAD’s seven “alert” sites around the US, responsible for defending the nation against attack. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 114] The jets are already at “battle stations,” with the pilots in the cockpits but the engines off (see (9:09 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [FILSON, 2003, PP. 55; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 24; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 117-119] The scramble order has just been issued by NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) (see 9:24 a.m. September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 16 ] Third Pilot Launched - The unit at Langley keeps two F-16s on “alert”—armed, fueled, and ready to take off within minutes if called upon. [AIR FORCE MAGAZINE, 2/2002; BERGEN RECORD, 12/5/2003; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 17] But NEADS has instructed it to launch as many aircraft as it can (see (Between 9:10 a.m. and 9:23 a.m.) September 11, 2001), and so the unit’s operations manager Captain Craig Borgstrom is also preparing to take off in a third jet. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 118-119] Major Dean Eckmann calls the other two pilots, saying, “Quit check,” indicating a radio check. Major Brad Derrig responds, “Two.” Borgstrom replies: “Three. I’m going with you!” This is news to Derrig. According to author Lynn Spencer, Derrig is “stunned.… [N]ot much surprises him, but this does.” Borgstrom joining them as a pilot will mean that, in the middle of this unprecedented crisis, their unit will be left without a commanding officer. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 142] Only Two Jets Fully Armed - The two jets that are kept on alert are fully armed. As Eckmann will later recall, “We can carry M9 heat seekers, Sidewinders for the M7 Sparrow, plus we have an internal 20 mm Vulcan cannon, and we were pretty much armed with all that.” [BBC, 9/1/2002] However, Borgstrom’s jet has guns only, and though the six-barrel 20 mm gun can fire 6,000 rounds per minute, it requires close range. Pilot Unqualified to Lead Three Jets - As the three aircraft taxi out to the runway, Eckmann is concerned that he has not yet qualified as a mission commander—a “four-ship”—and is therefore not authorized to lead more than one fighter jet. He calls the other pilots, saying, “Hey, I’m only a two-ship!” But Derrig, who is a full-time instructor pilot for the Air National Guard, urges him not to worry. He responds: “Press! I’m an instructor,” giving his approval for the flight to operate as a “three-ship” under Eckmann’s lead. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 142] The three jets will take off and be airborne by 9:30 a.m. (see (9:25 a.m.-9:30 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 8/26/2004, PP. 16 ] Entity Tags: Brad Derrig, 119th Fighter Wing, Craig Borgstrom, Dean Eckmann, Langley Air Force Base Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline

ReferencesEdit

  1. http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123059477
  2. Rogers, B. (2006). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. ISBN 1-85780-197-0

External linksEdit

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