SABRES IN THE AIR NATIONAL GUARD SERVICE

During the Korean War, three Air National Guard units received the F-86A when they were called to active duty, but none were transferred to Korea. The 116th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Washington Air National Guard had converted to F-84s in April 1950. They were called to active duty on February 1, 1951. The 116th became the first activated Air Guard unit to recquip with the F-86A. The 116th was transferred to England (RAF Bentwaters) by late August 1951. They served on active duty until October 1952. When the 116th returned to the United States, their Sabres stayed with USAFE.

On February 1, 1951, two other Air National Guard squadrons were activated and tramsitioned into Sabre Jets. The 148th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Pennsylvania ANG transferred to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware and converted from F51 Mustangs to F86As and F-94Bs. They completed their tour of duty at Dover on October 31, 1952. Finally, the 126th FIS of the Wisconsin ANG was activated on February 1, 1951. They flew F-86As at Truax Field, Wisconsin until their active duty finished on October 31, 1952.

The Korean War ended in July 1953. By that fall, more F-86s were available for Air Guard Service. The first Air National Guard unit to receive F-86As while not on active duty was the 186th FIS of the Montana ANG. The 190th FIS from the Idaho ANG followed.

By 1955, 18 Air National Guard Fighter Interceptor Wings were flying F86s. By 1956, the all-weather F-86D, and later the F-86L, were available, and the Air National Guard converted eight Fghter Interceptor Wings to Air Defense Wings. The F-96D equipped the 159th FIS of the Florida ANG first. During 1957, the fighter-bomber F86H began re-equipping an eventual 14 Air Guard squadrons. The day fighter Sabres, the F-86A, "E" and "F", were in Air Guard service for less than seven years. All were replaced by 1960.

By the end of the Fifties, there were 29 all-weather interceptor squadrons flying the "D" and "L".There were also 12 tactical fighter squadrons flying the F-86H. The last all-weather squadron, the 196th FIS of the California ANG, phased its Sabres out in 1965. The last Sabre of all, the F-86H, was with the New York Air National Guard until November 1970 when the last Sabres in active service were phased out.


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