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106th Air Refueling Squadron Celebrates 90 Years of Service

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Jonathan Russell
  • 117th ARW/PA

The 106th Air Refueling Squadron of the Alabama Air National Guard will celebrate its 90th Anniversary here on Saturday.

Established on January 21, 1922, the 106th Air Refueling Squadron has been actively involved in overseas campaigns, maintaining national security and supporting humanitarian relief missions throughout the world. They also support the local communities throughout Alabama in times of crisis. Most recently, the 106th Air Refueling Squadron was involved with disaster relief operations after the April 2011 tornadoes.

In its early years, the 106th Air Refueling Squadron started at Roberts Field in Birmingham. Their mission was to fly the newly developed concept of airmail in the Curtiss JN-4D "Jennies" biplanes. In 1929, they airdropped food and other supplies to flood victims in south Alabama. In the 1930s, the squadron moved to its current location at Sumpter Smith Air National Guard Base. Currently the 106th Air Refueling Squadron of the Alabama Air National Guard provides in-flight refueling using KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft.

While there are some full-time airmen in the Alabama Air National Guard, many of the airmen are part-time. Being part-time gives the airmen the flexibility of having either a civilian career or pursing a higher education. They serve in the Air National Guard a minimum of one weekend a month and two weeks a year. With the recent involvement in the Global War on Terror, a majority of these part-time airmen have been activated and deployed to various locations throughout the world.

The members of the Alabama Air National Guard and the 106th Air Refueling Squadron have been an important part in defending, protecting and serving their state and nation and will continue to be ready for the next challenge.