The Maryland Air National Guard traces its origins to June 29, 1921. On that date the 104th Observation Squadron was federally recognized in Baltimore. It became the first post-World War I National Guard unit to be equipped with its own aircraft, 13 Curtiss JN-4 Jennies, which it flew until 1923.  Initially assigned as division aviation for the 29th Infantry Division, the unit operated out of Baltimore's Logan Field. In addition to Jennies, the 104th flew a variety of other aircraft during the interwar period, almost all of them two-seat biplanes. 

Along with the rest of the Maryland National Guard, the 104th was mobilized for federal service on Feb. 3, 1941. During the war, the 104th flew anti-submarine patrols out of Atlantic City, N.J., and was awarded campaign credit for participation in the Anti-Submarine Campaign. In late 1942, the unit was inactivated and its personnel transferred to the 517th Bombardment Squadron, later redesignated the 12th Anti-Submarine Squadron, at Langley Field, Va. In the fall of 1943, the 12th was transferred to California and redesignated the 859th Bombardment Squadron. By this time most of its original National Guard members had been reassigned to other units as individual replacements. 

In 1946, the 104th was reactivated as the 104th Fighter Squadron at Harbor Field in Baltimore, equipped with P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft, later replaced by F-51 Mustangs. From 1955 to 1958, the unit was organized as a fighter-interceptor squadron and charged with defending the Baltimore-Washington area against possible Soviet bomber attack. The unit soon converted to F-86 Sabrejets, and in 1957 relocated to the Glenn L. Martin Company Airport, whose longer runway was necessary to support jet operations.

ANG: A Short Story

The Air National Guard as we know it today -- a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force -- was a product of the politics of postwar planning and interservice rivalry during World War II. The men who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II didn't place much faith in the reserves, especially the state-dominated National Guard.

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