The squadron started receiving their first F-16s in 1991. These were of the block 25 type, replacing the venerable F-4 in the air defense and attack roles. Most of these airframes came from the 50th TFW based at Hahn AFB, Germany, which was trading in their block 25s for more advanced block 30 airframes. The squadron, although an ANG unit – which are mostly tasked with air defense of US mainland – was tasked with air defense as with a conventional attack mission. F-16s of the 113th FS were seen very often practicing with AGM-65 ‘Maverick’ missiles in the anti-tank role. Since the squadron wasn’t equipped with any kind of targeting pod (these were privileged at that time for the block 40/42 units) the target illumination had to be done by other aircraft.
In 1995 the squadron received block 30 airframes to replace the older block 25. These came from other guard units being re-equipped with more modern material, in this case mainly the 174th FS. The tasking of the squadron remained exactly the same. This time the squadron was gradually receiving more advanced electronics (LANTIRN pods) and weaponry (AIM-120, GBU-30,…). This eventually resulted in the squadron performing in a more multirole environment. The squadron was also sent abroad on a rotational basis, flying both Operation Northern and Southern Watch missions.
USAF F-16C block 30 #86-0259
from the 113th FS is banking to the right over desert terrain during the Snowbird exercise held from Tucson IAP in February of 2006. [Photo by Wally Van Winkle]
BRAC 2005 wasn’t as positive for the squadron as the unit was to lose its F-16s and more-over its flying role all together. The last F-16 sortie was flown on September 8th, 2007 with a number of airframes going to other units flying block 30 airframes. A number of them were also sent to AMARG for storage. The unit was deactivated on the same day, only to be reactivated in 2008 as a ground based air support operations squadron operating the so-called ‘Distributed Common Ground System’ as an intelligence gathering squadron. With that ended a rich heritage that stretched from 1917 till 2007 – exactly 90 years.
USAF F-16C block 30 #85-1557
from the 113th FS is raising its nose high after take-off from its homebase. [Photo by Jake Melampy