2011 Marks Three Anniversaries for MDANG

  • Published
  • By Capt. Wayde Minami
  • 175th Wing Public Affairs
The year 2011 will mark the passage of three anniversaries for the Maryland Air National Guard - the first of which occurs today.

Feb. 3 is the 70th anniversary of the Maryland National Guard's mobilization for World War II. The Guard was called into federal service under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "limited emergency" on Feb. 3, 1941, for what was originally supposed to be one year of training. Prior to the U.S. entry into World War II, Maryland Air Guardsmen participated in the massive Carolina Maneuvers of 1941.

But when Japan attacked the U.S. on Dec. 7, 1941, that year became "for the duration." Maryland Airmen quickly shifted from training to actual operations. They conducted antisubmarine patrols along the Atlantic coast, but as the war progressed they were scattered to units around the globe. Many went on to fight in Europe and the Pacific. Some of whom died in the service of their country.

The second anniversary occuring in 2011 will take place this summer. On June 29, the Maryland ANG will be 90 years old.

When its 1st Observation Squadron received federal recognition on June 29, 1921, Maryland became the fifth state to have a post-World War I National Guard aviation unit. The 1st Observation Squadron (a state designation) was soon redesignated the 104th Observation Squadron under the federal numbering system. At the time, the number 104 was widely used to designate combat support units in the Maryland National Guard, including the 104th Medical Regiment and the 104th Military Police Battalion.

But while Maryland missed out on being the "first to form," they would not miss out on being the "first to fly." According to an article written in 1921 by then-Capt. William D. Tipton, one of the charter members of the Maryland Air National Guard, Maryland was the first unit to actually have an aviation unit trained and equipped to fly. Other units were in various states of preparation, but lacked aircraft and facilities necessary to carry out flight operations.

The last anniversary of 2011 is also the most recent. Sept. 11 will mark 10 years since the terrorist sneak attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Since 9/11, Maryland Air Guardsmen have deployed around the world in support of the Global War on Terror, including repeated deployments supporting combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2010, the 175th Wing completed its largest combat deployment to date, when both its C-130s and its A-10s were sent to support combat operations in Afghanistan.