188th Fighter Squadron
& 150th Defense System Evaluation Flight
150th Fighter Wing New Mexico ANG
(Note: This web site will be upgraded starting 21 November, 2014 and lasting for about a week. )
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 Vietnam as a component of the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing. 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. In 2010 the unit was inactivated, leaving no flying unit with the NM ANG. A Wikipedia article listed the 188th Rescue Squadron in 2013, but as of late 2014 that is not the case.
The 150th Defense Systems Evaluation Flight was 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. The 150th DSE operated eight "Block 30" F-16Cs performing the same duty at WSMR. This also benefited the USAF, as it provided good testing against air defense systems and allows tactics to be developed before combat starts. The flight disbanded in 2007.
The 150th Fighter Wing was the parent unit for the 188th FS. It was formed in 1957 as the 150th Tactical Fighter Group to administer the units that supported 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. On 1 December, 2013 the designation became the 150th Special Operations Wing. In this function it will train combat ready crews for the 58th Special Operations Wing.
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-51D 44-73089 now wears the full
colors consisting of the black and yellow stripes on the
This aircraft is somewhat of an
enigma as the 188th was only shown to have operated F-51Ds,
however here is a period photo of F-51H 44-64291 in full New
Mexico Guard markings. While it would seem odd to
operate two different aircraft types in same role it does
seem that is the case.
F-80C Shooting Star
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
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.
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
These F-100Cs are overall silver
lacquer, rather than NMF and the black and yellow flashes
adorn only the fin. (NMANG)
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)
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.
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.
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.
The 188th's wheeled road runner.
3-1741 overflying Tuy Hoa air base, Vietnam. This was the base for the unit when deployed to the Republic of Vietnam.
F-100C 54-1786 is displayed in New
Mexico ANG markings at the March Field Museum in Riverside,
California. "786" both served with the 188th and made
the deployment to Vietnam.
Known F-100C serial numbers: 53-1718, 1730, 1737, 1775, 54-1741, 1742, 1752, 1786, 1801, 1803, 1813, 1873, 1879, 2008, 2030, 2063 and 2075.
Known F-100F serial numbers:
56-3759, 3891 and 3920.
A-7D/K Corsair II
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)
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)
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)
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,
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)
The last two photographs are of 75-0396 at Biggs AAF in October, 1990. This illustrates the "Zia" with the Chaparral (Road Runner) carried in the unit emblem. To the Hopi people the road runner is a sign of good, keeping evil spirits away. Both the Zia and the road runner are important to the cultures of New Mexico.
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: 79-0462.
85-1408 on the ramp in El Paso in February, 2002. And
again at the Amigo Airsho in October, 2004 at Biggs
Army Air Field.
F-16C 85-1453 at Midland, TX during the Commemorative Air Force air show in October, 2002.
F-16C 85-1460 at Biggs AAF in May, 2002
85-1502 at Biggs in May, 2002.
F-16C 86-0224 at El Paso International Airport in February, 2002. This aircraft is with the 150th DSEF and along with several others was flying missions against "targets" provided by the US Army.
F-16C 86-0224 at Biggs during the Amigo Airsho October, 2004
F-16C 86-0332 at Holloman AFB in September, 2007.
86-0356 at Biggs AAF during October, 2006.
F-16C 86-0369 October, 2004.
F-16C 87-0277 at Biggs in October, 2009.
F-16C 87-0304 October, 2006.
87-0306 Biggs AAF Oct, 2009.
F-16C 87-0308 Biggs AAF Oct, 2006.
F-16C 87-0326 Biggs AAF Sep, 2007.
F-16C 87-0328 Biggs AAF Oct, 2009.
88-0415 El Paso Feb, 2002.
F-16C 88-0489 Biggs AAF May, 2002.
F-16C 88-0504 at Holloman AFB May, 1997.
F-16C 88-0513 at Kirtland AFB in Sep, 2000.
88-0543 at Biggs AAF in Oct, 1992. This is
shortly after the unit transitioned from the A-7D to
F-16s. This also shows the original F-16 tail
F-16C 89-2015 at Biggs in Oct, 1994.
F-16C 89-2041 at Biggs in May, 2002.
89-2173 at Biggs in Oct, 1995.
F-16D 85-1513 At Biggs in Oct, 2000.
F-16D 90-0777 at Biggs in May 1997.
The first F-16 tail
markings are shown on the left.
With the introduction of tail codes the marking changed to the second from the left.
The two last photos show the markings carried by the 150th Defense Systems Evaluation Flight.
Known F-16C serial numbers: 85-1408, 1453, 1460, 1502 86-0224, 0332, 0356, 0369, 87-0277, 0292, 0304, 0306, 0308, 0326, 0328, 0350, 88-0415, 0489, 0504, 0513, 0543, 89-2015, 2041.
Known F-16D serial numbers: 85-1513,
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