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169th Fighter Wing History

Established in 1946, the South Carolina Air National Guard consists of more than 1,500 Airmen who work and drill at McEntire Joint National Guard Base. The 2,400-acre base is located about 12 miles east of Columbia.

The base is named for the late Brigadier General Barnie B. McEntire, Jr., the first commander of the SCANG and its first general officer. McEntire died in 1961 when he rode his malfunctioning F-104 into the Susquehanna River to avoid crashing in densely populated Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The base previously was known as Congaree Air Base and was used in World War II as a U.S. Marine Corps training base.

The primary unit of the SCANG is the 169th Fighter Wing. It is comprised of the 169th Operations Group, which include the 157th Fighter Squadron, 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron and the 316th Fighter Squadron (Active Association), the 169th Maintenance Group, the 169th Mission Support Group and the 169th Medical Group. The 245ATCS provides for the base’s air traffic control services and possesses the ability to perform this service at other fixed bases and remote sites.

The mission of the 169FW is to maintain wartime readiness and the ability to mobilize and deploy expeditiously to carry out tactical air missions or combat support activities in the event of a war or military emergency. More specifically, the wing specializes in the Suppression and Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses. The SCANG operates as part of the Total Force of the U.S. military and is fully integrated with the active-duty Air Force to perform its military mission.  

The SCANG’s state mission is to respond to the call of the governor in the event of natural disaster or domestic disturbance.

 The wing flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon, a single-seat, multi-purpose fighter jet with the ability to fly up to twice the speed of sound. It can perform air-to-air and air-to-ground tactical missions. The 169FW flew the F-16A from 1983 to 1994 and in 1994, transitioned to the F-16C/Block 52 (the newest, most advanced F-16 in the U.S. Air Force).

From the Korean War to present day operations ENDURING FREEDOM and INHERENT RESOLVE, the SCANG has been called to active military service for numerous historic contingencies.

In October 2023 more than 200 Airmen from the 169FW deployed to the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) AOR. This deployment is defensive in nature with the intent to increase defensive capabilities against potential threats in the region.

The SCANG continues to set the standard for excellence and combat capability in both our federal and state missions. Whether rescuing flood victims, coordinating for air support, suppressing and destroying enemy air defense, deploying our Swamp Fox Airmen around the globe, engaging with our state partner Colombia, or scrambling to meet an airborne threat, the Airmen of South Carolina's National Guard continue to lead the way...always first! Semper Primus!

169th Fighter Wing Mission

Organize, Train, Equip and Deploy mission ready Airmen for our state and nation.

169th Fighter Wing Vision

Be the world's premier fighting force, bringing unmatched value and combat capability to the state and nation.