The 117th Air Refueling Wing can trace its roots back to a World War I era flying club. The Birmingham Flying Club, also known as the Escadrille's, was the seventh federally recognized flying squadron on January 21, 1922 by the United States War Department. "Maj. James A. Meissner, a World War I ace who had flown with Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, led the effort to form the unit and served as its first commander."*
During World War II the observation mission expanded to include fighters and bombers. After WWII the squadron was re-organized into the 117th Fighter Group, which quickly became the 117th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. In 1994, the unit began flying the KC-135R Stratotankers and was re-designated as the 117th Air Refueling Wing.
Lineage of Aircraft*
1922-1933-- JN-4, JN-6, DH-4, TW-3, PT-1, BT-1, O-2, O-11, and O-17
1941-1942-- O-49, A-20, and P-40
1942-- P-39, P-43, O-46, L-3, and L-4
* A CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE AIR NATIONAL GUARD AND ITS ANTECEDENTS, JANUARY
* "Lineage and Honors History of the 106th Air Refueling Squadron (ANG)" by SSgt Matthew Scales