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California Air National Guard
C-130 Hercules over Santa Cruz Island.jpg
115th Airlift Squadron C-130J Hercules flying over Santa Cruz Island. The 115th AS is the oldest unit in the California Air National Guard, having over 80 years of service to the state and nation
Active 16 June 1924-Present
Country  United States
Allegiance  California
Branch US-AirNationalGuard-2007Emblem.svg  Air National Guard
Role "To meet state and federal mission responsibilities."
Part of California Military Department
United States National Guard Bureau
Headquarters California Military Department, 9800 Goethe Road, Sacramento, Ca 95826
Civilian leadership Governor of California Jerry Brown
Michael B. Donley
(Secretary of the Air Force)<br /President Barack Obama
(Commander-in-chief by federalization)
Ceremonial chief Brigadier General Jon K. Kelk
(Commander, California Air National Guard)
California Air National Guard California Air National Guard USAF patch.PNG
Aircraft flown
Fighter F-16C/D Fighting Falcon
F-15 Eagle
Helicopter HH-60G Pave Hawk
Reconnaissance MQ-1 Predator (UAV)
Transport MC-130P Combat Shadow
C-130J Hercules (MAFFS)

The California Air National Guard (CA ANG) is the air force militia of the U.S. State of California. It is, along with the California Army National Guard, an element of the California National Guard. As state militia units, the units in the California Air National Guard are not in the normal United States Air Force chain of command. They are under the jurisdiction of the Governor of California though the office of the California Adjutant General unless they are federalized by order of the President of the United States. The California Air National Guard is headquartered in Sacramento, and its commander is currently Brigadier General Jon K. Kelk.


Under the "Total Force" concept, California Air National Guard units are considered to be Air Reserve Components (ARC) of the United States Air Force (USAF). California ANG units are trained and equipped by the Air Force and are operationally gained by a Major Command of the USAF if federalized. In addition, the California Air National Guard forces are assigned to Air Expeditionary Forces and are subject to deployment tasking orders along with their active duty and Air Force Reserve counterparts in their assigned cycle deployment window.

Along with their federal reserve obligations, the California ANG is subject to activation by order of the Governor to provide protection of life and property, and preserve peace, order and public safety.[citation needed] State missions include disaster relief in times of earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and forest fires, search and rescue, protection of vital public services, and support to civil defense.

In addition, the California State Military Reserve (CSMR) is an all-volunteer militia force under the California Military Department that provides reserve personnel to both the California Army National Guard and the California Air National Guard. It is under state jurisdiction and its members are employed only within the State of California. It is not subject to be called, ordered or assigned as any element of the federal armed forces. It's mission is to provide units organized, equipped and trained in the protection of life or property and the preservation of peace, order and public safety under competent orders of State authorities.[1]


The California Air National Guard consists of the following major units:

Established 3 April 1955; operates: MC-130P Combat Shadow; HH-60G Pave Hawk
Stationed at: Moffett Federal Airfield, Mountain View
Gained by: Air Force Special Operations Command
The members of the 129th have performed rescues under a variety of conditions - from rough Pacific seas to the rugged Sierra Nevada, using its combination of HC-130 tankers and HH-60 helicopters. Many high-risk lifesaving missions involved long-range, over-water flights, air refueling of helicopters by the HC-130 aircraft, and skilled maneuvering by ships and helicopters to recover patients from the decks of these vessels.[2]
Established 2 June 1948; operates: F-16C/D Fighting Falcon
Stationed at: Fresno Air National Guard Base, Fresno with additional Alert Detachment at March Air Reserve Base, Riverside
Gained by: Air Combat Command
Provides air defense protection for California from the Mexican border to Oregon utilizing the F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighter aircraft (transitioning to F-15 Eagle aircraft).[2]
Established 16 June 1924 (as: 115th Observation Squadron); operates: C-130J Hercules (MAFFS)
Stationed at: Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Oxnard
Gained by: Air Mobility Command
The oldest unit of the CA ANG, the 146th AW proivides global military airlift capability to a full spectrum of state and federal agencies.[2]
Established 9 November 1946 (as: 196th Fighter Squadron); operates: MQ-1 Predator
Stationed at: March Joint Air Reserve Base, Riverside
Gained by: Air Combat Command/Air Education and Training Command
Has 902 members of which roughly 220 are full-time. Currently in transition from a KC-135 Stratotanker air refueling mission to an MQ-1 Predator ISR wing, executing global unmanned aerial systems, combat support, and humanitarian missions.[3]
Established 13 May 1948; non-flying unit
Stationed at: North Highlands Air National Guard Station, Roseville
Gained by: Air Combat Command
Provides global communications utilizing hard wire and satellite systems.[2]


The California Air National Guard origins date to 28 August 1917 with the establishment of the 115th Aero Squadron as part of the World War I United States Army Air Service. The 115th served in France on the Western Front, constructed facilities and engaged in supply and related base support activities then after the 1918 Armistice with Germany was demobilized in 1919.

The Militia Act of 1903 established the present National Guard system, units raised by the states but paid for by the Federal Government, liable for immediate state service. If federalized by Presidential order, they fall under the regular military chain of command. On 1 June 1920, the Militia Bureau issued Circular No.1 on organization of National Guard air units.[4]

Preparing for a target towing mission at Camp Merriam, now Camp San Luis Obispo, in 1933. Captain Miller of the 115th Observation Squadron boards an O-38 as mechanics adjust the towing mechanism.

The 115th Observation Squadron was established by the Militia Bureau on 5 April 1924, which authorized the immediate organization of the 115th Observation Squadron, 40th Division of Aviation, California National Guard. Initially the Unit held its meetings at Clover Field, Santa Monica, using Reserve Equipment planes for flying. Later on, the Squadron met at the National Guard Armory and also at the University of Southern California. In 1925, several months after its organization, the Squadron moved to permanent quarters at Griffith Park, Los Angeles. The 115th Observation Squadron was ordered into active service on 3 March 1941 as part of the buildup of the Army Air Corps prior to the United States entry into World War II.[5] On 24 May 1946, the United States Army Air Forces, in response to dramatic postwar military budget cuts, imposed by President Harry S. Truman, allocated inactive unit designations to the National Guard Bureau for the formation of an Air Force National Guard. These unit designations were allotted and transferred to various State National Guard bureaus to provide them unit designations to re-establish them as Air National Guard units.[6] The modern California ANG received federal recognition on 1 July 1946 as the 62d Fighter Wing at Van Nuys Airport, Van Nuys. Its 115th Bombardment Squadron was equipped with A-26 Invader light bombers. On 16 September 1946, its 146th Fighter Group was also formed at Van Nuys, with several fighter squadrons equipped with F-51 Mustangs and its mission was the air defense of the state. 18 September 1947, however, is considered the California Air National Guard's official birth concurrent with the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate branch of the United States military under the National Security Act[6] On 4 April 1948 the 61st Fighter Wing with its 144th Fighter Group was formed at Hayward Municipal Airport, Hayward. The 61st's mission was the air defense of Northern California, the 62d, Southern California.

Today, units of the CA ANG perform a homeland defense mission; worldwide airlift missions, aireal firefighting, combat search and rescue, and Unmanned Aireal (UAV) Reconnaissance missions. Also the 162d CCG ,aintains tactical communications-electronic facilities, and provides tactical command and control communications services for operational commands supporting US military wartime contingencies.

After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, elements of every Air National Guard unit in California has been activated in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Flight crews, aircraft maintenance personnel, communications technicians, air controllers and air security personnel were engaged in Operation Noble Eagle air defense overflights of major United States cities. In December 2007, after the grounding of F-15 fighters due to potential structural problems, the California Air National Guard assumed responsibility for defense of the western United States. This was the first time that a single state's fighter wing took responsibility of defense for an entire coast.[7]

Also, California ANG units have been deployed overseas as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq as well as other locations as directed.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

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