The Oregon Air National Guard 142nd Fighter Wing has been redesignated the 142nd Wing as of March 6, 2020.
The move from a fighter wing to a wing is meant to better articulate the broad capabilities of the 142nd and the Airmen who accomplish the mission.
For Col. Adam Sitler, the 142nd Wing Commander, the rebranding is a reflection of the increasingly varied capabilities of the organization.
“The wing redesignation is an important step to recognize the diverse mission sets within the 142nd,” said Sitler, “In our case, we are fortunate to have a special warfare mission, and a fighter aircraft mission. When a wing has multiple mission areas, the proper designation is ‘Wing’ which reflects both the special operations and the fighter mission.”
The move does not alter the core-mission of the 142nd, but instead seeks to clarify the broad skillset the wing has available.
“We are still fully committed to flying fighters, and we’ll continue to excel in that mission area,” said Sitler, “we are fortunate to have one [of] the two Air National Guard Special Tactics Squadrons, [and] the 125th Special Tactics Squadron will continue to thrive, now and into the future.”
Throughout the nearly 80-year history of the organization, the wing has been rebranded several times. Each time, choosing a name that reflected the mission and capabilities of the era. The modern 142nd can trace its lineage to the 371st Fighter Group, a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter group that fought during World War II. It wasn’t until May 24th, 1946, that the group relocated to Oregon and gained the 142nd numerical identifier.
The constant across the many names attributed to the 142nd is the “fighter” designation, symbolizing the organizations flying mission. Across generations, the 142nd has been defined by the fighter mission, yet as critical as the fighter mission is, it doesn’t summarize what the modern 142nd is capable of.
Maj. Dawn Choy, the 142nd Wing Historian, knows the history of the wing well, and understands that forging a stronger future lies in understanding the past.
“It’s important to know and learn from our past,” said Choy, “The unique lineage and honors gained throughout the years [will] always remain part of the 142nd Wing’s history. By knowing how we got here, we can be better decision-makers to determine where we go.”
As the mission and capabilities of the 142nd have evolved, it’s clear that the “fighter” moniker fails to encapsulate the roles of our Airmen and the mission at large. The inclusion of a special operations mission gives the 142nd the opportunity to choose a name that symbolizes the multi-faceted strengths of the organization.
“Change is constant,” said Sitler, “and that is certainly true for the 142nd. The addition of the 125th Special Tactics Squadron into the wing is worthy of redesignating the organization to capture our full complement of warfighting capability. The 142nd Wing is the most accurate description of who we are.”