188th Fighter Squadron
& 150th Defense System Evaluation Flight
150th Fighter Wing 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, though sometimes the phrase "The Enchilada Air Force" was used. In 1948 the unit became a Fighter Interceptor Squadron. During the Korean War the unit was federalized and served at Long Beach Municipal Airport from 1 February to November 1952, when it returned to state control and back to its base at Kirtland. 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. Quite possibly this aircraft
was used for an auxiliary function such as target towing.
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.
52-5756 sitting on the ramp at
53-1532 formats with three other
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 and 1662.
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.
53-1741 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, 1725, 1730, 1737, 1775 54-1741, 1742, 1752, 1760, 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
A-7D 70-1041 at ELP,
A-7D 70-1048 ELP June, 1981.
A-7D 71-0301 ELP December, 1980.
A-7D 71-0324 ELP
A-7D 71-0324 Biggs AAF April, 1990.
A-7D 71-0343 at ELP October, 1982.
A-7D 71-0343 at
Biggs October, 1988 and again in October, 1990.
A-7D 71-0359 at
Ellington AFB in May, 1983
A-7D 72-0200 at ELP
in March, 1981.
A-7D 72-0202 at ELP
Holloman AFB November, 1982.
A-7D Two shots of
72-0202 Biggs October, 1990.
A-7D 72-0225 ELP
A-7D 72-0228 Biggs
A-7D 72-0237 ELP
Holloman AFB November, 1983.
A-7D 72-0238 ELP
A-7D 72-0245 ELP
A-7D 72-0248 Biggs October,
A-7D 72-0256 ELP
November, 1981 and again at Biggs in October, 1986.
A-7D 72-0261 at
Biggs in May, 1981.
Kirtland AFB November, 1982. (Gerald McMasters)
A-7D 72-0262 ELP
A-7D 74-1744 Biggs
A-7D 75-0386 Biggs
A-7D 75-0396 Biggs
Tail markings for most of the A-7 era. 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.
The two seat A-7K
was developed in th 1970's to provide proficiency in the
A-7. It is similar to the Navy TA-7C, but has the
USAF flying boom refueling capability.
A-7K 79-0462 at El
Paso International in October, 1988. This aircraft
had previously served with the 152nd TFS, Arizona ANG.
A-7K 80-0290 ELP
When the 188th received A-7Ds, they were accepted in the (then) standard South East Asia scheme of Tan FS-595 32019 , Dark Green 34079 and Green 34102 over Light Gray 36622. The regular SEA scheme then evolved into the "wrap around", or "Lizard" about 1980 which eliminated the underside gray and replaced it with a continuation of the topside pattern and colors. The SEA schemes gave way to a drab scheme during the mid '80s. The colors are now Green 34079 and Gray 36081. The final scheme used two grays; 26270 and 26118.
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, 1567, 86-0224, 0288, 0324, 0332, 0340, 0356, 0369, 0374, 0384, 87-0277, 0292, 0304, 0306, 0308, 0326, 0328, 0350, 88-0415, 0457, 0473, 0477, 0489, 0503, 0504, 0506, 0513, 0543, 89-2000, 2015, 2021, 2041, 2118.
Known F-16D serial numbers: 85-1513,
88-0174, 89-2173, 90-0777.
One of the support aircraft operated was
this C-131B 53-7814, which flew with the unit until the late
1980's. She is seen here in El Paso in March, 1982.
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