"OMNIS VIR TIGRIS" (Everyone a Tiger)
The 102nd Fighter Wing, Massachusetts ANG.
The 102nd Fighter Wing was born in the spring of 1921 as the 101st Observation Squadron, Massachusetts National Guard. By November of that year, the squadron was federally recognized. The squadron secured its own training site on the landfilled tidal flats at Jeffries Point, East Boston. This humble field, with its two cinder runways, would later be known as Logan International Airport. The squadron quickly became one of New England's major aviation centers playing a big part in the first around-the-world flight of the U.S.Army Air Service. It also housed and cared for the "Spirit of St. Louis" when Guardsman Lt.Col. Charles Lindbergh visited the Bay State. In 1940, the 101st was inducted into federal service and was then moved from Logan Airport to Otis Field at Camp Edwards, Mass. During World War II the unit served under the Ninth Air Force as a reconnaissance unit. After serving in France, the squadron returned to the states in 1945 and was reactivated as a National Guard unit on July 29, 1946.
The 102nd Fighter Group with the 101st as its assigned fighter squadron, and subordinate to the 102nd Fighter Wing, was federally recognized on October 15, 1946. The 102nd became the first Air National Guard unit to conduct post-war training and did so at Otis Air Base. In 1950, the 102nd and four other ANG wings were recalled to active duty and assigned to the Air Defense Command. Remaining at home station, the Logan International Airport based ANG unit stood runway alert throughout the Korean conflict. At Logan, the 101st flew the famous P-47 Thunderbolt and the F-51 Mustang. Later, jet fighters like the F-84A and B Thunderjet, F-94B Starfire, F-86H Sabre and F-84F Thunderstreak also appeared on the Boston flightline. When the Berlin wall was built in 1961, the 102nd Tactical Fighter Wing and all its subordinate units [102nd TFG, Boston, Mass, 104th TFG, Westfield, Mass. and the 174th TFG, Syracuse, NY] were alerted and by November 1, the Wing's F-86H aircraft were on the ramp at Phalsbourg Air Base, France. The Wing provided close air support to NATO's U.S. Seventh Army. By August 1962, the Wing was released from active duty and returned to Air National Guard control. In August of 1968, the 102nd left its Boston home of over 45 years to become a tenant unit at Otis Air Force Base.
The return to Otis for the 102nd was fitting indeed. The 101st Observation Squadron, forerunner of the 102nd Fighter Interceptor Wing, was the original occupant of the Otis Field and was instrumental in its construction on the Camp Edwards property. The original intent of Otis Field was for utilization by National Guard aircraft. Otis was named after pilot, flight surgeon, and eminent Boston City Hospital surgeon, Lt. Frank Otis, a member of the 101st Observation squadron who was killed while on a cross-country training mission.
The Wing flew the F-84F Thunderstreak until June 1971 when a squadron of F-100D Supersabres was transferred directly from the conflict in Vietnam. A shift in Department of Defense military planning brought still more changes to the 102nd and its mission. The 102nd received F-106 Delta Darts and officially joined the Air Defense coomunity on June 10, 1972. The 102nd was now a Fighter Interceptor Wing. Upon completion of transition, the Wing commenced and air defense alert commitment on a 24-hour, 365-day basis. On December 30, 1973, Otis AFB was inactivated and transferred to the Massachusetts ANG as Otis ANGB. On April 25, 1975, 102nd pilots Captain Kenneth Peterson and 1st Lt. Arthur Bugbee were scrambled to intercept two Soviet TU-95 "Bear" aircraft, 240 nautical miles off the Long Island coastline. Intercepts since that time have included everything from aircraft off course to aircraft carrying illegal cargo.
In 1976, the 102nd Fighter Interceptor Group was deactivated with the 102nd Fighter Interceptor Wing assuming working command authority. In addition, for federalization purposes, the 102nd Fighter Interceptor Wing became the controlling authority for the 177th and 125th Fighter Interceptor Groups [flying F-106 aicraft] located at Atlantic City, NJ, and Jacksonville, Fla., and also for the 107th and 147th Fighter Interceptor Groups, flying F-4C at Niagara Falls, NY, and Ellington ANG Base, Tx.
The 102nd has figured prominently in several William Tell air-to-air weapons competitions. The 102nd took first place in the 1978 shoot out competition and along with Great Falls, Mont., represented the Air National Guard F-106 units in the actual competition at Tyndall AFB, Fla. That year the 102nd place fourth in the overall F-106 category, its first try at the William Tell apple. Again in 1980, a team of pilots and aircraft maintenance personnel from the 102nd competed for the title of number one F-106 unit in North America. In this event, the unit placed second to a unit from from Fresno, Ca. In 1981, the 102nd participated in its first major air defense deployment to CFB Goose Bay, Labrador, for a six-day exercise. Low level intercepts were conducted against British Vulcan bombers, as well as assorted U.S. aircraft. In 1982, a Checkered Flag deployment took the Wing to CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia. The initial deployments to periodically test operating from distant locations has grown to increased worldwide responsibilities for the 102nd. The 102nd FIW deactivated its alert commitment with the F-106 on January 5, 1988. Between January and April 1988, the wing converted to the F-15A Eagle and resumed its alert commitment at Otis and provided an alert detachment at Loring AFB, Me. With the 102nd's conversion to the F-15, the unit becaame the first Air National Guard Air Defense unit to be equipped with the aircraft.
More recently, from 1991 through 1995, the 102nd Fighter Wing deployed to Panama as part of "Coronet Night", a drug interdiction operation. From 1995 to 1998, the Wing deployed to Iceland for 45 days of air defense duty. During 1998, Otis Guardmembers both trained for and performed real-world contingency assignments in Iceland, Canada, Korea and Europe. In 1999, the wing participated in Operation Northern Watch when it deployed with its F-15A Eagle to Turkey to patrol and enforce the no-fly zone north of the 36th parallel over northern Iraq. The wing deployed again more than 350 personnel to the Middle East and Europe in 2000 to participate in Operation Southern Watch. On September 11, 2001, the 102nd FW sprang into action just minutes after the terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. More than 600 members from 102nd FW were mobilized for Operation Noble Eagle. The wing began flying around-the-clock combat air patrols missions immediately thereafter and continued doing so until February 2002. During this period, the wing aircaft flew 2,388 sorties compiling more than 3,750 flying hours.