163rd RW, California Air National Guard   Right Corner Banner
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The 163d Reconnaissance Wing, March Air Reserve Base, Calif. Air National Guard, has roots dating back to 1946. The unit's can-do attitude and trailblazing past has brought it to the point it is now, which is on the leading edge of technology with the MQ-1 Predator mission.

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In November, 2006, the Wing was redesignated to the 163d Reconnaissance Wing. The Wing was the first Air National Guard unit to receive the MQ-1 Predator and was the first to become a fully functional ANG Flying Training Unit (FTU) and Field Training Detachment (FTD) for the Predator. The FTU falls under the ACC and trains pilots and sensor operators to become Predator aircrew. The FTD, which falls under AETC, trains enlisted personnel to build, maintain and repair the Predator.
The mission of the 163d Air Refueling Wing, which the unit was redesignated to on October 1, 1993, was to maintain the capability to conduct air refueling or climate. We operate in that role as part of the Air Mobility Command commitment to Global Reach. We have flown to places such as Italy, England, Australia and Asia. The aircraft we fly have progressed from the KC-135E to the KC-135R. In addition, the 163d ARW provides assistance to the State of California, responding to state emergencies upon the Governor's request. The 163d was composed of four primary groups; Maintenance, Support, Operations and Medical.
In July 1990, the unit once again changed missions and was redesignated the 163d Tactical Reconnaissance Group. The 163d was equipped with RF-4C aircraft and maintained a dual state/federal mission. The unit's primary mission was to provide tactical reconnaissance to all friendly forces. The unit was also actively involved in state wide missions. This was accomplished by using a system of visual, optical, electronic, and other sensory devices. During this time the aircrews accumulated over 30,000 hours of flying time and the unit deployed across both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
The 163d transitioned to the F-4E on April 1, 1987. This newer aircraft incorporated more sophisticated electronics and weaponry.
In October of 1982, the 163d officially assumed a tactical fighter role flying the F-4C "Phantom." The group concurrently moved to March AFB into new facilities built for the unit.
On March 8, 1975, the unit once again took on the challenge of a new mission and was reassigned under the Tactical Air Command as the 163d Tactical Air Support Group. The 163d received the 0-2A/B "Super Skymaster" to accomplish the unit's new role.
Serving with distinction, the unit received two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards for extended periods ending in 1964 and 1974.
The unit accepted the F-102 "Delta Dagger" as its new aircraft.
On May 17, 1958, the Air Force reorganized and expanded the 196h Fighter Interceptor Squadron into the 163d Fighter Interceptor Group as part of the North American Defense Command.
After fifteen months overseas, the 196h returned to the United States and resumed operations at Ontario international Airport in Ontario, California. The unit received and flew the P-51H "Mustang" as its primary mission aircraft, up to March 1954.
The Air Force called the squadron to active duty on October 10, 1950 to assist United Nations Forces during the Korean Conflict. While stationed in Northern Japan, the unit flew F-84E "Thunderjets" side-by-side with regular active duty Air Force units, providing air defense for the area.
In June of 1948, the unit received 25 F-80C "Shooting Star" aircraft. The 196h was one of the first Air National Guard Units to receive these new jets.
The 163d began as the 196th Fighter Squadron on November 9, 1946. The unit was then located at nearby Norton AFB, in San Bernardino, California.

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