111th Fighter Squadron
What is today the 111th Fighter Squadron was formed as the 111th Observation Squadron on June 29, 1923. Based at Ellington Field, the unit would move to Houston Municipal Airport (later renamed Hobby Airport) in the late 1920s. The early years saw JN-4 and JN-6 "Jennys" a lone DH-4B. For the next several years there were a mixture of aircraft: VE-7s (2), TW-3s (2), O-17s, O-2Hs, O-38Bs and O-38Es, O-43As, a lone O-46A and O-47s. During this time period it was not uncommon for up to three types to operate simultaneously. A photographer or model builder's delight!
In the months prior to WWII, the "Ace in the Hole" would move several times prior to shipping overseas. Those months were used to prepare for the war that everyone knew was coming and training was accomplished with several aircraft types: O-49s, O-52s, P-43s, A-20s, P-39s and P-40s. Basically anything available. Redesigned the 111th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter) and later the 111th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, the Texas National Guard unit would serve in North Africa, Italy and Southern France, flying A-20Bs, P-39Ls, A-36As, P-51As, P-51Bs (and Cs) and F-6s. During this service, the 111th was assigned to the 68th Tactical Reconnaissance Group, the 69th TRG and later the 10th TRG. With the end of WWII, the 111th TRS was inactivated.
In 1946 the 111th was allocated to the Air National Guard as a Bomber Squadron (Light) only to be redesigned a Fighter Squadron before any aircraft were issued. Equipped with P-51Ds, the 111th was part of the 136th Fighter Wing along with the 181st Fighter Squadron (Hensley Field) and the 182nd FS (Brooks AFB). A utility flight of A-26s was also operated. When the Korean War broke out the 111th and the 182nd were federalized and sent to Korea where they took over F-84Es from the 27th Fighter Escort Wing. Coming underthe command of the 136th Fighter Bomber Wing, the now Fighter Bomber Squadrons were joined by the 154th FBS (AR ANG). Though the wing achieved aerial victories, the mission for the most part was dropping iron bombs and napalm on the enemy ground forces opposing UN forces.
The duty in Korea came to an end in 1952 and the 111th went home to Texas, now based at again at Houston Municipal Airport and equipped with P-51H and T-6 aircraft. The designation became 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. In September 1953 the P-51s were replaced with F-80Cs, which served until July 1957 when F-86Ds came into service. The F-86Ds were supplanted by F-86Ls in 1959. F-102A and TF-102A fighters replaced the F-86s in August 1960. From November 1969 until May 1976 the 111th was responsible for F-101B and F-102 combat training. Several T-33s served as instrument trainers during this time frame. When that duty came to end the F-102s went out of service. In August 1982 the Voodoos were replaced by F-4Cs, which in turn were replaced with F-4Ds in January 1987. They were in turn replaced with F-16A and F-16B aircraft in April 1990. The 111 made the most recent conversion to F-16Cs and Ds and when TAC became ACC the "Interceptor" designation was dropped. The "Ace in the hole" is now the 111th Fighter Squadron.
One abortive conversion almost occured in 1976 whe it was planned for the unit to equip with RF-4C aircraft. Several had arrived before plans were changed and the F-101s kept.
Over the years many support aircraft have been assigned. A short list would be BC-1, T-6, C-47s (well, that is no surprise), C-54, C-131 and during WWII both an A-20 (while equipped with Mustangs) and a B-25. Of the many T-33s to fly with the unit, one, 52-9223, spent its entire life with the unit.
A multitude of aircraft types and subtypes have been operated since 1923. Some where single examples. At one time or another, the 111th has operated almost every type of Mustang. Post war the ANG fighter units east of the Mississippi operated P-47. Those to the west, except Hawaii (P-47s), operated P-51s. Too bad, I would like to see a P-47 in TXANG markings. A more complete list of aircraft types:
JN-4, JN-6H, DH-4B, VE-7, TW-3, TW-5, PT-1, PT-3, O-2C, O-2H, O-17, O-38, O-38B, O-38E, O-43A, O-46A, O-47A, O-47B, O-49 (L-1), O-52, L-1A, BC-1A, P-39L, P-40F, P-43A, A-20B, A-36A, P-51A, P-51B, P-51C, P-51D, P-51H, F-6B, F-6C, F-6D, F-6K, L-4A, L-4B, B-25C, C-47A, C-47B, T-6C, T-6D, T-6F, B-26B (A-26B), B-26C (A-26C), T-33A, F-84E, F-80C, F-86D, F-86L, F-102A, TF-102A, F-101B, F-101F, F-4C, F-4D, F-16A, F-16B, F-16C, F-16D, C-131B, C-26A
The photo sections are broken down into the following pages:
Prewar and early period. 1923-1940
WWII Era. 1941-1945
Postwar and Korea. 1946-1952
Post Korea: 1952-1965
Vietnam era and after. 1965-Present
Air National Guard