188th Fighter Squadron
& 150th DSE
150th FW New Mexico ANG

    The 188th Fighter Squadron came into being on July 7, 1947 at what is now Kirtland Air Force Base, as the 188th Fighter Bomber Squadron equipped with 25 F-51Ds.  A utility flight was also equipped with Douglas A-26s.  As with every other ANG unit there were also T-6 Texans.   The use of the nickname "Tacos" probably started about the same time.  In 1948 the unit became a Fighter Interceptor Squadron.  During the Korean War the unit was federalized and served at Long Beach Municipal Airport, returning to state control and Kirtland afterwards.  The unit operated Mustangs until 1953 when they were replaced by F-80Cs.  The F-80s were in turn replaced with F-100As (and two seat F-100Fs)  in 1958.  New Mexico held the distinction of being the first state with an Air National Guard unit to operate the Hun.  The A model was itself replaced with the F-100C in 1964 and the 188th became a Tactical Fighter Squadron.  1968 and the USS Pueblo Crisis again brought federalization and this time a deployment to Tuy Hoa Air Base in South Viet Nam.  The unit returned to state control in June, 1969 and in 1973 became the first ANG unit to convert to the A-7D.  In 1980 the two seat A-7K was also added.  The A-7D is officially the "Corsair II" (a Navy name!), but is referred to in USAF service as the "SLUF".  That acronym is often stated as "Short Little Ugly Fella".  In reality the "F" is NOT for "Fella".  The SLUF served the Tacos well until 1991 when it was replaced with the F-16C and D.

   The 150th Defense Systems Evaluation is a component of the 188th.  It was created to provide systems evaluation for the U.S. Army.  This is a role that the Tacos had taken on in the 1970s while flying the F-100C, when the 188th replaced the  4758th DSES (another Hun unit) flying from Biggs AFB and later Holloman AFB provided support for Army Air Defense Artillery units at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.  Today, the 150th DSE operates eight "Block 30" F-16Cs performing the same duty at WSMR.  This also benefits the USAF, as it provides good testing against air defense systems and allows tactics to be developed before combat starts.  (Can you think of anyone this might be used against soon?)

   The 150th Fighter Wing is the parent unit for the 188th FS.  It was formed in 1957 as the 150th Tactical Fighter Group to administer the units that support the function of the 188th FS.  The designation of the 150th has changed to reflect the changes of missions: TFG, FIG.  In 1995 the 150th TFG became a Wing, as the 150th FW.

F-51D Mustang


(1) A 4 ship formation of F-51Ds led by 44-72145. At this point in time (late 1940s), the markings are very plain: Natural metal finish with tail number, national insignia, a letter code on the nose (possibly to designate a flight) and a colored fin cap (again possibly flight colors).  The spinners might also be painted.  (NM-ANG)

F-80C Shooting Star


(1)  45-8533 trails two other F-80Cs.  Black and yellow stripes have been added that really "spice" up the natural metal finish. (NM-ANG)

F-100A Super Sabre

1                    2

(1)  The Hun retained the natural metal finish and the black and yellow flashes when it first entered service with the 188th.  53-1532 formats with three other huns.
(2)   53-1555 parked in front of alert hangars at Kirtland AFB.

Known F-100A serial numbers: 52-5756,  5774,  53-1532,  1543, 1555,  1563, 1582, 1600, 1651, 1662 and 1737.

F-100C Super Sabre

1                                  2                           3                               4                     5

(1)  These F-100Cs are overall silver lacquer, rather than NMF and the black and yellow flashes adorn only the fin.  (NMANG)
(2)  53-1718 and some of the other F-100Cs were finished in overall ADC gray (FS 16473) rather than silver.  The full markings were returned to this color scheme.  This Hun is stored at MASDC, note the camouflaged NMANG F-100 behind it.  (Koku-Fan)
(3)  54-1803 had seen better days by the time this photo was taken in 1978.  Markings are now simply the yellow road runner (with wheels for feet!) painted on the top of the fin.
(4) 54-1752 at MASDC in 1979.  This aircraft is preserved at Dyess AFB's Linear Air Park as 54-1753 in the markings of the 322nd Fighter Day Group.
(5)  The 188th's wheeled road runner.

Known F-100C serial numbers: 53-1718, 1730, 1737, 1775, 54-1741, 1742, 1752,  1786, 1801, 1803,  1813, 1879, 2008, 2030,  2063 and 2075.

Known F-100F serial numbers: 56-3759 and 3920.

A-7D/K Corsair II

1                       2                      3

(1)  When the 188th received A-7Ds, they were accepted in the (then) standard South East Asia scheme of Tan FS 32019 , Dark Green  34079 and Green  34102 over Light Gray 36622.  The only tail marking carried on 72-0261 is the "Land of Enchantment" symbol with a bomb carrying Road Runner inside.  The first A-7 tail marking was the same wheeled Road Runner that was carried on the Huns.   Photo taken at Biggs Army Airfield in May, 1981.  (CB)
(2)  The regular SEA scheme evolved into the "wrap around", or "Lizard" which eliminated the underside gray and replaced it with a continuation of the topside pattern and colors.  72-0262 at Kirtland AFB, 1982.  (Gerald McMasters)
(3)  The SEA schemes gave way to this drab scheme during the mid '80s.  The colors are now Green 34079 and Gray 36081.   72-0262 again, but at ELP in 1987.  (CB)

4                   5

(4)  The two seat A-7K was developed in the 1970s to provide proficiency in the A-7.  It is similar to the Navy's TA-7C, but has the USAF flying boom refueling system.  79-0462 in 1988 at ELP.  This aircraft had previously served with the 152nd TFS, AZANG.  (CB)
(5)  72-0248 at the Amigo Airshow in October, 1990.  This is the final and possibly most attractive scheme carried by the SLUF.  The colors used are Medium Gray 26270 and Gunship Gray 26118.  (CB)

Known A-7D serial numbers: 69-9213, 9242, 70-0988, 1000, 1016, 1034, 1048, 71-0301, 0324, 0343, 0359, 0379, 72-0200, 0201, 0202, 0206, 0218, 0224, 0225, 0228, 0237, 0238, 0245, 0248, 0249, 0256, 0261, 0262, 74-1744, 1760, 75-0386, 0388, 0389 and 0396.

Known A-7K serial numbers: 80-0290.

F-16C/D Fighting Falcon

1                     2                        3                   4                     5

(1)  F-16C 88-0543 with the first markings carried on the F-16.  F-16 colors are  Gunship Gray 36118 over Medium Gray 36270, with a 26118 radome.  This photo was taken at the Amigo Airshow in 1991.  (CB)
(2)  F-16D 85-1513 of the 150th DSE, as noted by the yellow outlined black tail band.  The band has the bomb toting Road Runner from the Hun and early A-7 days.  (CB)
(3)  85-1408 photographed at ELP in Jan, 2002.  (CB)
(4)  88-0415 of the 188th FS at ELP January, 2002.  The 188th uses a yellow band with the "Land of Enchantment" symbol.  (CB)
(5)  In 2004 86-0369 was wearing a new tail scheme.   (CB)

Current NM tail markings
6                       7                      8                     9

(6)  The first F-16 unit markings carried for a short while prior to the introduction of tail codes.  1991.  (CB)
(7)  The 150th DSE tail markings in 2002.  (CB)
(8)  The same for the 188th FS in 2002.  (CB)
(9)  The 188th adopted a large version of the squadron emblem for a new marking in 2004.  The Zia serves as eyes in the current incarnation. (CB)

Known F-16C serial numbers: 85-1408, 86-0224, 0332, 0356, 0369, 87-0277, 0292, 0304, 0306, 0308, 0326, 0328, 0350, 88-0415, 0489, 0543, 89-2015, 2041.

Known F-16D serial numbers: 85-1513, 89-2173.

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Created 03-14-02
Updated 11-27-09