The 110th Fighter Squadron is stationed at Lambert Field, St. Louis Missouri. The 110th received their first F-15A/B’s in May of 1991 replacing the F-4E’s. The 110th was one of the last Air National Guard unit’s to convert to the F-15. The 110th has been one of the most experienced Eagle Communities with at the peak of the F-15 era, the squadron hosted over thirteen FWS graduates. The average hours of a 110th FS pilot was 2,500 and among the squadron members where three mig killers. Very sadly the Air Force decided to convert the “Lindberg own” from one of the greatest F-15 squadron to a Bombartment squadron, becoming the first ANG B-2 bomber unit in 2008. Marking and end of an Era. “Eagle Country” will try to keep the legacy of this great Fighter unit alive.
Lt. Col. Jim “Hacksaw” McComas, 110th Fighter Squadron pilot, and Lt. Col. Reed “Snake” Drake, 110th Fighter Squadron pilot, fly over the 131st Fighter Wing, St. Louis, Missouri Sept. 17. The pilots were returning from conducting Aerial Combat Manuevers. (Photo by Capt. Timothy Reinhart)
Lt. Col. Jim “Hacksaw” McComas, 110th Fighter Squadron pilot, Lt. Col. Darrin “Elvis” Barritt, 110th Fighter Squadron pilot, Lt. Col. Steve “2 Dogs” DeMilliano, 110th Fighter Squadron pilot, and Lt. Col. Reed “Snake” Drake, 110th Fighter Squadron pilot, fly their F-15 Eagles in a four-ship formation over St. Louis, Missouri Sept. 17. The pilots were en route to conduct Aerial Combat Manuevers. (Photo by Capt. Timothy Reinhart)
Col Jon “JB” Kelk finishes historic final F-15 flight
Pilots of the 110th Fighter Squadron, “Lindbergh’s Own”, gathered to celebrate with Col. Jon “JB” Kelk for his final F-15 flight at Lambert-Saint Louis Airport March 12. Left to right: Lt. Col. Mike “Father” Flanagan, Col. Rob “Mos” Mohr, Colonel Kelk, Lt. Col. Mike “Hung” Jurries, Lt. Col. Brian “Spiderman” Kamp, Lt. Col. Jeff “Chunks” Verville and Col. Greg “Spinner” Champagne. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)
17th March 2009, Col. Jon “JB” Kelk is doused with a fire hose in honor of his final F-15 flight at the 131st Fighter Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, Lambert-Saint Louis March 12. With the final sortie, Colonel Kelk accrued more than 4,100 hours in the Eagle, the most of any pilot to date. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison).
Missouri Air National Guard celebrates End of Era with final F-15 departure
by Capt. Bridget Zorn 131st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
6/16/2009 – St. Louis — The Missouri Air National Guard commemorated the culmination of 86 years of flying operations in St. Louis in an End of Era ceremony coinciding with the closure of the base fire house and the 131st Fighter Wing’s final F-15C Eagle departure from Lambert International Airport Saturday June 13.
An estimated crowd of 2000 Guardsmen, retirees, family and community leaders attended the End of Era event. Former members traveled from other states, including Florida, Tennessee and Ohio to participate in what was one of the wing’s more significant milestones since it was established in 1923
The final F-15 flight was especially important for those who flew or maintained the fighter jets from St. Louis, which is also home of the former McDonnell Douglas, known today as Boeing, the manufacturer of all the world’s F-15s were produced.
“Flying the F-15 is a thrill. Think of the funnest [sic] thing you ever did and multiply that by 10,” said Colonel Robert Mohr, 131st Operations Group Commander.
Col. Jon Kelk, flew F-15 air superiority fighters in the Missouri ANG for more than 17 years. “While it’s difficult to see our eagles leaving the 131st, I could not be prouder of the many accomplishments of the fine men and women who truly set the standard for F-15 employment,” he said.
In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission spared Lambert Air National Guard Base, but called for the transfer of the wing’s F-15s. The 131st Fighter Wing’s F-15s were realigned to the 120th Fighter Wing in Great Falls, Mont. and the 154th Fighter Wing in Hawaii.
“I’m confident that the units receiving these aircraft will find them in extraordinary condition and I wish them safe flying and much success,” said Col. Kelk, who flew his final F-15 sortie in March.
BRAC law allowed for the manpower associated with the F-15s to be used for Total Force Integration initiatives. In 2006, Missouri and Air Force leaders took advantage of the newly available maintenance and operations manpower when they announced a new ANG B-2 classic associate unit. With a new mission, more than 550 of the 131st Fighter Wing’s personnel would fly and operate the B-2 Stealth Bomber at Whiteman AFB.
Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond, a proponent of the Missouri National Guard commented, “I am pleased that the U.S. Air Force found a way to preserve the 131st, one of the most experienced and proven Air Guard units in the country. To be chosen from Air Guard units across the country, this announcement is a real honor for the 131st.”
“As things change, there are new beginnings and with this change our new beginning is at Whiteman in the B-2 bomber,” Col. Leeker said.
For the past three years, the unit has prepared for the transition from the F-15 to the B-2 on two fronts; at Lambert ANGB in St. Louis and about 200 miles away at Whiteman AFB in Knob Noster, Mo. Establishing a new ANG B-2 mission at Whiteman AFB and the drawdown of the F-15 mission at Lambert ANGB not only required unit leaders to split time between two locations, but also required that the unit’s manpower be divided between the two locations.
The extensive planning and coordination with Air Combat Command, National Guard Bureau and within the unit ensured that the unit’s transition was seamless despite the limited manpower and two operating locations.
“Today, we are merely turning the page in our history book. The 131st [FW] and the 110th [FS] lives on,” Col. Leeker said.
Although the decision to put Guardsmen into the B-2 preserved most of the jobs put at risk by the BRAC decisions, firefighter positions were not spared.
“An Air Force’s fighter fighting capability is directly related to its aircraft,” explained Senior Master Sgt. David Maupin, base Fire Chief.
131st Fighter Wing transitions to 131st Bomb Wing
by 1st Lt. Stephanie Schmitt
131st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
10/5/2008 – Lambert IAP — The 131st Fighter Wing formally recognized it’s transition to the 131st Bomb Wing in a ribbon cutting ceremony held Oct. 4 at Whiteman, AFB.
The ceremony celebrated the first official drill for traditional guardsmen at Whiteman and the grand opening of building 3006, the 131st Bomb Wing’s headquarters there.
“We are proud of our members and proud of our lineage as we transition from an Air National Guard Fighter Wing to a Classic Associate Bomb Wing,” Col. Robert L. Leeker, 131st BW commander, said.
Brig. Gen. Craig D. McCord, Missouri Air National Guard commander, explained, “This transition will serve as a template for the future of Air Force and Air National Guard integration.”
Congressman Ike Skelton described how this integration between the Air Force and Air National Guard is a “dream come true” for the Air Force, Air National Guard and himself. The Missouri Air National Guard and the Air Force will come together and “like a marriage their two hearts can beat as one.”
“Today signifies the coming together of one of the finest Active Duty bases and one of the finest Air National Guard bases in the Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Garrett Harencak, 509th BW commander. “You will join us as brothers and sisters and no enemy of America will have sanctuary anywhere in the world.”
Members from the 131st FW have been transitioning to Whiteman since the summer of 2007. The 131st has about 10 B-2 pilots fully qualified and over 80 personnel currently working at Whiteman.
“The 509th BW and 131st BW are a premier team,” said Colonel Leeker. “And together we can hunt down and destroy America’s enemies.”