The 104th Fighter Squadron is an attack squadron equipped with the A-10 Thunderbolt II. It is a unit of the Maryland Air National Guard. Its parent unit is the 175th Wing.|
The 104th Fighter Squadron traces its origins to 29 June 1921, when it was federally recognized as the 104th Observation Squadron in Baltimore, Maryland. It became the first post-World War I National Guard unit to be equipped with its own aircraft, 13 Curtiss JN-4 Jennies, which it flew until 1923.
Initially assigned as division aviation for the 29th Infantry Division, the unit operated out of Baltimore'sLogan Field. In addition to Jennies, the 104th flew a variety of other aircraft during the interwar period, almost all of them two-seat biplanes.
Along with the rest of the Maryland National Guard, the 104th was mobilized for federal service on 3 February 1941. During World War II, the 104th flew anti-submarine patrols out of Atlantic City, New Jersey, and was awarded campaign credit for participation in the Anti-Submarine Campaign. On 18 October 1942, the unit was inactivated and its personnel transferred to the 517th Bombardment Squadron.
The 104th was transferred without personnel or aircraft to Birmingham, Alabama and reassigned to III Air Support Command. It was again reassigned to 3rd Air Force and reactivated at Ft. Myers, Florida in March 1943, now manned by Regular Army replacements. At the end of March, the unit was re-designated athe 104th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter) and transferred to Thomasville Army Airfield, Georgia, where it conducted flight training. In August 1943 it was redesignated as the 489th Fighter Squadron. The unit was deactivated in May 1944 and its members reassigned.
In 1946, the 104th was reactivated as the 104th Fighter Squadron at Harbor Field in Baltimore, equipped with P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft, later replaced by F-51 Mustangs. From 1955 to 1958, the unit was organized as a fighter-interceptor squadron and charged with defending the Baltimore-Washington area against possible Soviet bomber attack. The unit soon converted to F-86 Sabrejets, and in 1957 relocated to the Glenn L. Martin Company Airport, whose longer runway was necessary to support jet operations.
When the 175th Tactical Fighter Group was established in October 1962, the 104th Tactical Fighter Squadron, which had heretofore operated as an independent squadron, became a part of the new group. Since then, it has remained a subordinate unit of the 175th (now the 175th Wing) and a part of theMaryland Air National Guard.
The squadron's first federal mobilization since World War II occurred in April 1968, when the 104th, along with the rest of the Maryland National Guard, was federalized during the Baltimore Riot. The Maryland National Guard had already been on state active duty performing riot control duty, but was federalized to preserve unity of command when federal troops were sent into the city. The second mobilization took place from May to December 1968, when the 104th, along with maintenance elements and portions of the 175th Tactical Fighter Group headquarters, was called up in response to the USS Pueblo crisis in Korea. The squadron was stationed at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, where it trained active Air Force pilots in forward air controller duties. The unit did not deploy overseas.
In 2003 the unit was mobilized and deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. It remained there for six months conducting operations against al Qaeda and Taliban forces as part of the Consolidation I Campaign. It served longer at Bagram than any other United States Air Force fighter unit. The unit was deployed to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, in 2007, where it was the first Air Force unit to fly the A-10C in combat. This deployment qualified the unit for credit for the Iraqi Surge Campaign. The 104th is also is notable for having won Gunsmoke '91, the Air Force Worldwide Gunnery Competition.
104th Observation Squadron (1921–1942)
104th Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter) (1942–1943)
489th Fighter Squadron (1943–1944)
104th Fighter Squadron (1946–1952)
104th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (1952–1955)
104th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (1955–1958)
104th Tactical Fighter Squadron (1958–1992)
104th Fighter Squadron (1992–present)