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The 130th Airlift Wing (130 AW) is a unit of the West Virginia Air National Guard, stationed at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, West Virginia. If activated to federal service, the Wing is gained by the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command.

On 1 July 1960, the West Virginia Air National Guard 130th Troop Carrier Squadron was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 130th Air Commando Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 130th being re-designated as an Air Commando squadron and becoming the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 130th Headquarters, 130th Material Squadron (Maintenance), 130th Combat Support Squadron, and the 130th USAF Dispensary. Aircraft assigned to the new group were C-119 Flying Boxcars and U-10D Super Courier combat observation aircraft. The mission of the 130th ACG was primarily Air Commando special operations missions.

Continuing its mission and training with the Active duty 1st Air Commando Group in Northern Florida, in 1968 HQ USAF directed all Air Commando organizations be re-designated as "Special Operations" units to be more descriptive of their mission. Through the 1960s and into the 1970s the 130th participated in many international missions and received recognition for their performance. This included the 130th being awarded the Spaatz Trophy four times as the "Outstanding Flying Unit in the Country " and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award five times.

In 1975, the Flying Boxcars were retired, the 130th receiving the far more capable C-130E Hercules transport, and being designated as a "Tactical Airlift" unit. The transition to the C-130 moved the gaining organization from Tactical Air Command to Military Airlift Command, with the primary mission of the Group becoming tactical airlift, with the Special Operations mission becoming secondary with the end of the Vietnam War.

A model upgrade to the C-130H in 1986 was completed and in August and September 1990, the 130th TAG commanded a "volunteer" package of 16 C-130s and support personnel from WV, TN, TX, MO and DE ANG units in support of Operation Desert Shield. October 1990 saw the Presidential Call of selected members from the 130th Tactical Airlift Squadron combining with the 181st Tactical Airlift Squadron, TX ANG to form the functional staff of the 1630th Tactical Airlift Squadron (Provisional) at Al Ain International Airport, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. In December 1990, the 130th Tactical Clinic and the 130th Mobile Aerial Port Squadron had selective members activated. They deployed to RAF Bicester, UK and Dover AFB, Delaware respectively, subsequent to "Operation Desert Storm". All members were deactivated by June 1991. The members of the group located in the United Arab Emirates received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with valor.

In April 1992, some unit members and aircraft deployed to Rhein-Main AB, Germany in support of the Bosnian Airlift called "Operation Provide Promise". The 130th has deployed several times since this date for "Provide Promise", the latest being from 21 September 1998 to 29 October 1998. In August 1993, one aircraft and 2 crews were sent to Operation "Operation Support Hope" for 30 days in Rwanda, Africa.

Organizationally, the 130th was expanded to a Wing status in 1995. From January to March 1996, the unit deployed 2 aircraft, 6 crews and maintenance support to Daharan, Saudi Arabia, in support of Operation Southern Watch.

As of mid-2000, the 130th AW had recently sent several aircraft and support personnel to Panama for Coronet Oak. While there, wing personnel were heavily involved in Hurricane Mitch relief to Honduras and Nicaragua.

ang: A Short Story

The Air National Guard as we know it today -- a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force -- was a product of the politics of postwar planning and interservice rivalry during World War II. The men who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II didn't place much faith in the reserves, especially the state-dominated National Guard. 

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