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132nd Fighter Wing Past-Present & Future

Des Moines, Iowa -- What started as just a dream to a group of World War I pilots back in 1925 has developed, expanded and transitioned into the Iowa National Guard's 132nd Fighter Wing of today. It took this original group six failed requests, frequent trips to Washington DC and 16 years before federal recognition was granted by National Guard Bureau. Finally, on 25 February 1941, the 124th Observation Squadron was official. This is the kind of heart and determination that started the 132nd Fighter Wing all those years ago and it is still obvious as they prepare for their biggest change in history.

Last year members of the 132nd FW were notified that they were getting new aircraft. This is not a new occurrence. After all, aircraft are constantly being upgraded and changed out for new capabilities of ways to fly and fight. They have been home to 11 different aircraft and countless blocks for each of those aircraft. The 132nd is nothing if not resilient and able to adapt to the mission.

However, now they are leaving the era of manned air craft behind and diving into the future with the MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). No more will the familiar hum of the F-16 jet engines be heard coming from the flight line. The air base will be all but silent for the first time in over 70 years.

Since its inception in 1941 the 132nd Fighter Wing has adapted to many transitions, but one thing always remained the same; they flew. Back then it was the O-38 and O-47 propeller planes. As times and technology have changed over the years, so have the aircraft. The transition to the UAV is a completely new concept that the base has never experienced before.

"I think back to the men that stood up this unit in 1941. They had to start a unit from scratch, and that's what we're challenged with today. I know the men and women in this unit are up to the challenge as we start this new mission," says Col. Drew Dehaes
On Saturday, September 7th, the 132nd hosted a Celebration of Flight. During the celebration unit members came together reminisce about the legacy of the 132nd. This was the final opportunity for past and present unit members to bid farewell to the majestic F-16 as they performed their last flight for onlookers.

The ceremony included important speakers from the base and community. They focused on the great impact that the 132nd FW has made during its time as well as the continued support they will give after the transition.

"For 72 years the 132nd Fighter Wing has been a staple in our community and our national defense strategy. The wing has received much recognition, validating the outstanding efforts and commitment to excellence," says Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds.
It is hard to say exactly what the future will hold at this point but one thing will remain the same. The 132nd will continue to evolve by focusing on enduring missions for the future. We are celebrating the turning of a page in our wing's history and beginning a new chapter. New and exciting opportunities are available to our current and future Airmen. We will strive to continue our culture of excellence.

As the Wing positions itself for the next chapter in its storied legacy, history tells us that the Airmen of the 132nd Fighter Wing (Past-Present & Future) will continue to meet the mission in the only fashion they know how, with excellence.