The National Guard had its birth during the colonial period of our Nation’s history when the Minutemen of the original militias fought for independence. National Guardsmen have participated in every major conflict since that time. Since the Korean War, and through the Berlin crisis, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, the Iraqi conflict, and the Global War on Terror, our National Guard Minutemen have answered the call of our Nation’s Leaders in the defence of our freedoms. The history of the units that comprise the Phoenix area Air National Guard is as rich as the history of the National Guard itself. The 161st Air Refueling Wing provides essential support for the three Air National Guard units in the Phoenix area; the 107th Air Control Squadron, the 111th Space Operations Squadron, and for the airmen assigned to the Joint Force Headquarters.
The 161st Air Refueling Wing
The 161st Air Refueling Wing is located at Sky Harbor Airport and operates the KC-135R model aircraft. It has been an integral part of the Phoenix community since 1946 and is proud to have the late Senator Barry Goldwater as one of its founders and original members. The approximate 800 airmen assigned to the unit, work in such diverse areas as Operations, Aircraft Maintenance, Security, Intelligence Information Systems, and Civil Engineering. The primary mission of the 161st ARW is to provide global aerial refueling support to the U.S. military forces and our allies.
The Joint Force Headquarters
The Joint Force Headquarters serves as the command and control element for the units of the Arizona Air National Guard. Located at Papago Park Military Reservation, the airmen assigned to this organization provide support and guidance to the airmen assigned to both the 161st Air Refueling Wing and 162nd Wing located in Tucson, Arizona.
The Joint Counter Narco-terrorism Task Force
The Joint Counter Narco-terrorism Task Force uses a combined force of Arizona Army and Air National Guardsmen to fulfill mission requirements such as educating Arizona school age children in the prevention of substance abuse and supporting law enforcement in drug interdiction along the Arizona border.