History of the 146th Airlift Wing

The 146th Airlift Wing has been part of Southern California's rich aviation history since the mid-1920s. The wing traces its roots to the fledgling days of the 115th Observation Squadron, an early military aviation unit of the California National Guard's 40th Infantry Division. The 115th Observation Squadron was founded in the summer of 1924 at Clover Field in Santa Monica, the site of today's Santa Monica Airport. Read more.

Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS)

The 146th is one of only four C-130 units whose contribution to our nation's aerial fire fighting capability includes equipment and techniques for efficient, effective suppression of large wildland fires from the air.

Since 1974, using the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) units supplied by the U.S. Forest Service and mounted in four C-130s, the wing's aerial fire fighting crews have been credited with saving many lives and countless millions of dollars worth of structures, forests, and brush land in California, and many other States and countries as well.

During a particularly difficult fire season around the Mediterranean Sea, the Italian government requested and received MAFFS-equipped aircraft, crews, and support personnel from the 146th. For several weeks, our aircraft and crews fought fires in Italy and Sardinia, while training local firefighters in MAFFS techniques, and earning the respect and admiration of many European aerial firefighters.

The fire seasons of 1993 and 1994 were the worst on record. The Malibu fires of 1993 literally burned to the edge of our base. But it was in 1994, with over 55,000 wildfires raging throughout the western States, that the 146th, along with three other MAFFS-equipped guard and reserve units flew nearly 2,000 missions, dropping fifty-one million pounds of fire retardant.

Wildfire Operations

Boise, Idaho 2012 Wildfire Operations

Boise, Idaho 2006 Widfire Operations

California 2003 Wildfire Operations

ANG: A Short Story

The Air National Guard as we know it today -- a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force -- was a product of the politics of postwar planning and interservice rivalry during World War II. The men who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II didn't place much faith in the reserves, especially the state-dominated National Guard.