On March 10th, 1990 the 179th Fighter Intercept Squadron received the first ADF variants of the F-16 to take over for the F-4D. The early markings included Duluth written on the tail as well as an image of the constellation 'Little Bear' which is also better known as the 'Big Dipper'.
Starting on March 17th, 1992 the 179th FIS was renamed the 179th Fighter Squadron. A few years later in October of 1995 the unit was tasked with a permanent detachment duty. Detachment 1 was an alert status mission based out of Tyndal AFB, Florida.
To fit the needs of a newer global environment and shrinking air force in the United States, the squadron dropped the air superiority role and became a general purpose unit. Proficient in the air-to-air mission, the 179th FS had to be brought up to speed using the F-16 for mud moving using both guided and unguided bombs. Live bombs were dropped for the first time in March of 2000 during a training exercise. Due to these role requirements, the base also had to be renovated. During this transition the units tail flash was also changed. The constellation 'Little Bear' was dropped and a tail code adopted.
Two USAF F-16A ADF's #81-0783
from the 179th FS during a CAP mission over the Eastern seaboard of the United States in support of Operation Noble Eagle on February 28th, 2002. [USAF photo by MSgt Dean Kuhlman]
Towards the end of 2003 the 'Bulldogs' began conversion to the F-16C/D block 25. Most of the ADF's were retired straight to AMARC wearing the unit tail flashes. They joined several other aircraft that had been sent to AMARC by the 179th FS over the years. During the coarse of the conversion the 179th FS also gave up its requirements for Detachment 1 at Tyndal AFB. Now with the block 25 and multi-mission training led to combat deployments which had in the past excluded the 179th FS from participating.
On April 27th, 2010 the squadron began another conversion being the first ANG unit to operate the block 50 when five F-16s arrived from Spangdahlem AB. This move will see the combination of both the 22nd and 23rd FS to become the reactivated 480th FS with the surplus aircraft going to the 179th FS. The majority of the block 25s will be sent for retirement in AMARG.
In front of F-16C block 25 #84-1253
from the 179th FS, airmen from the 148th FW pose for a 'family' photograph at Balad AB, on March 20th, 2007. Of the more than 250 Minnesota guardsmen deployed to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, 41 are related. [USAF photo by A1C. Nathan Doza]