121st ARW honors history with OHIO AIR GUARD on aircraft

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tiffany A. Emery

The 121st Air Refueling Wing added OHIO AIR GUARD to both sides of one of its KC-135 Stratotankers May 9, 2018 in a hangar at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base, Ohio.

“The addition of OHIO AIR GUARD is the continuing effort to revitalize the heritage of our unit,” said Lt. Col. Scott Bailey, the deputy maintenance group commander with the 121st ARW.

Over the past three years, the 121st Maintenance Group has worked to implement changes to the Stratotanker graphics.

They first implemented the scarlet tail flash, then added the red rudder tab as a nod to the history of the Tuskegee Airmen that served at Lockbourne Air Force Base, which is now Rickenbacker ANGB.  The next step was adding a racing stripe on the fuselage.

Baily said that since the beginning of the process there was always a desire to bring back the OHIO AIR GUARD to the sides of the aircraft.

The script OHIO AIR GUARD was originally painted on the sides of the 121st ARW’s KC-97 Stratofreighters starting in the early 1960’s and continuing until about 1977.  In 1975, the wing converted to KC-135 Stratotankers and put the same markings on these aircraft as well.

The wing was able to keep OHIO AIR GUARD on the sides of its Stratotankers until 1992 when the wing became part of the Air Mobility Command.  To comply with new regulations, a smaller Ohio script was incorporated on the tail markings instead.

It remained this way until several years ago when the AMC liberalized their policy to allow units to apply more distinctive markings, said Joseph Carr, a former commander of the 160th Maintenance Group with the 121st ARW.

However, it was not until Bailey was deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar last year that he realized putting OHIO AIR GUARD back on the aircraft was possible.

Bailey said, “I saw an aircraft on base with the 157th Air Refueling Wing from Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire and it had added a stripe along with the words NEW HAMPSHIRE AIR GUARD.”

It was the final catalyst to push for the addition of OHIO AIR GUARD to the Stratotankers along with the racing stripe, he said.

Bailey said that the 121st MXG intends to add OHIO AIR GUARD to all the aircraft moving forward during heavy maintenance.