|California Air National Guard|
|Active||16 June 1924 – Present|
|Country||United States of America|
|Allegiance|| United States of America|
State of California
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Type||State militia, reserve forces|
|Role||"To organize, train, equip, and resource community based land forces to support state and/or federal authority"|
California National Guard
|Garrison/HQ||9800 Goethe Road, Sacramento, CA 95826|
|Motto(s)||"Always Ready, Always There!"|
|Current commander||Brigadier General Steven Butow|
(Commander, California Air National Guard)
|Helicopter||HH-60G Pave Hawk|
|Reconnaissance||MQ-1 Predator (UAV)|
|Transport||HC-130J Combat King II|
C-130J Hercules (MAFFS)
The California Air National Guard (CA ANG) one of three components of the California National Guard, a reserve of the United States Air Force, and part of the National Guard of the United States.
Under the "Total Force" concept, California Air National Guard units are considered to be Air Reserve Components (ARC) of the United States Air Force (USAF). California ANG units are trained and equipped by the U.S. Air Force and are operationally gained by a Major Command of the USAF if federalized. In addition, the California Air National Guard are assigned to Air Expeditionary Forces and are subject to deployment along with their active duty and Air Force Reserve counterparts.
Along with their federal reserve obligations, the California ANG is subject to activation by order of the Governor to provide protection of life and property, and preserve peace, order and public safety. State missions include disaster relief in times of earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and forest fires, search and rescue, protection of vital public services, and support to civil defense.
The California Air National Guard consists of the following major units:
The California Air National Guard origins date to 28 August 1917 with the establishment of the 115th Aero Squadron as part of the World War I United States Army Air Service. The 115th served in France on the Western Front, constructed facilities and engaged in supply and related base support activities then after the 1918 Armistice with Germany was demobilized in 1919.
The Militia Act of 1903 established the present National Guard system, units raised by the states but paid for by the Federal Government, liable for immediate state service. If federalized by Presidential order, they fall under the regular military chain of command. On 1 June 1920, the Militia Bureau issued Circular No.1 on organization of National Guard air units.
The 115th Observation Squadron was established by the Militia Bureau on 5 April 1924, which authorized the immediate organization of the 115th Observation Squadron, 40th Division of Aviation, California National Guard. Initially the Unit held its meetings at Clover Field, Santa Monica, using Reserve Equipment planes for flying. Later on, the Squadron met at the National Guard Armory and also at the University of Southern California. In 1925, several months after its organization, the Squadron moved to permanent quarters at Griffith Park Aerodrome in Los Angeles. The 115th Observation Squadron was ordered into active United States Army Air Corps service on 3 March 1941 as part of the buildup of the Army Air Corps prior to the United States entry into World War II.
On 24 May 1946, the United States Army Air Forces, in response to dramatic postwar military budget cuts, imposed by President Harry S. Truman, allocated inactive unit designations to the National Guard Bureau for the formation of an Air Force National Guard. These unit designations were allotted and transferred to various State National Guard bureaus to provide them unit designations to re-establish them as Air National Guard units.
The modern California ANG received federal recognition on 1 July 1946 as the 62d Fighter Wing at Van Nuys Airport, Van Nuys. Its 115th Bombardment Squadron was equipped with A-26 Invader light bombers. On 16 September 1946, its 146th Fighter Group was also formed at Van Nuys, with several fighter squadrons equipped with F-51 Mustangs and its mission was the air defense of the state. 18 September 1947, however, is considered the California Air National Guard's official birth concurrent with the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate branch of the United States military under the National Security Act
On 4 April 1948 the 61st Fighter Wing with its 144th Fighter Group was formed at Hayward Municipal Airport, Hayward. The 61st's mission was the air defense of Northern California, the 62d, Southern California.
Today, units of the CA ANG perform a homeland defense mission; worldwide airlift missions, aerial firefighting, combat search and rescue, and Unmanned Aerial (UAV) Reconnaissance missions. The 162d CCG also maintains tactical communications-electronic facilities, and provides tactical command and control communications services for operational commands supporting US military wartime contingencies.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, elements of every Air National Guard unit in California has been activated in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Flight crews, aircraft maintenance personnel, communications technicians, air controllers and air security personnel were engaged in Operation Noble Eagle air defense overflights of major United States cities. In December 2007, after the grounding of F-15 fighters due to potential structural problems, the California Air National Guard assumed responsibility for defense of the western United States. This was the first time that a single state's fighter wing took responsibility of defense for an entire coast.
Also, California ANG units have been deployed overseas as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq as well as other locations as directed.