The Incredible Story of the Happy Hooligans
Published April 01, 2008
The North Dakota Air National Guard officially became a National Guard on January 16, 1947, at Hector Airport, Fargo, North Dakota. The newly established Air National Guard units formed in the 1947 - 1949 period were commonly assigned the history and accomplishments of a deactivated World War II flying unit.
The 367th Fighter Group, made up of the 392nd Fighter Squadron (FS), 393rd FS and 394th FS was one such unit. Known as the "The Dynamite Gang", 367th Fighter Group pilots flew 14,175 combat sorties in P-38's and P-47's during WWII, destroying 432 enemy aircraft. The unit received two Presidential Unit Citations and two Belgium Army Order of the Day Citations.
The leading ace of the 367th Fighter Group, Capt. Larry (Scrappy) Blumer from Kindred, North Dakota, became known as the "Fastest Ace in the West", when, as a member of the 393rd FS, he shot down five German fighters (FW I90's) in fifteen minutes on August 25, 1944. Scrappy commanded the 393rd FS from November 10, 1944 until he completed his combat tour in mid January 1945.
Upon inactivation of the 367th Fighter Group, the 178th Fighter Squadron, North Dakota Air National Guard, received the heritage of the 392nd Fighter Squadron, one of three fighter squadrons of the 367th Fighter Group.
The first fighter aircraft was the P-51D "Mustang," which the unit flew from February 1947 to 1954. The unit was called to active duty status in April of 1951 for the Korean War and assigned to Strategic Air Command at Moody AFB, Georgia in a bomber escort role. The unit was later transferred to George AFB, California in an air to ground and air to air role. On December 31, 1952 the unit was released from active duty and returned to Fargo, ND. The 178th, which left Fargo as the 178th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, became the 178th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and given an Air Defense Mission upon its return to Fargo in January of 1953.
In September of 1953 the runway alert program began with two P-51's on alert 14 hours a day. In 1954, the unit was assigned to the Air Defense Command and entered the jet age when the unit converted to the F-94 which it flew until 1958. Since then, the Hooligans have flown the F-89 "Scorpion" from 1958 to 1966, the F- 102 "Delta Dagger" from 1966 to 1969, and the F-101 "Voodoo" from 1969-1977. Starting in 1977, the unit flew the F-4 "Phantom" until 1990 and the F-16 "Fighting Falcon" from 1990 to 2007. Since 1973, the 119th Fighter Wing has flown more than 115,000 hours in fighter aircraft without a Class A Mishap, unprecedented in any U. S. fighter unit. In Jan 2007, the unit officially retired the F-16 mission after 60 years of successful
fighter jet missions. The 119th Wing now pilots C-21A aircraft and performs MQ-1 Predator operations.