119th Fighter Squadron

The 119th Fighter Squadron traces its heritage to World War I when, on September 17, 1917, it was organized as the 119th Aero Squadron located at Langley Field, Virginia. A few years later the 119th was inactivated and remained inactive until September 1928 when it was reorganized as the 119th Observation Squadron, New Jersey National Guard, at Metropolitan Airport, Newark, New Jersey as an Air Arm of the 44th Division Aviation and received Federal Recognition in January 1930.

In 1934, aircraft of the 119th Observation Squadron were dispatched to the scene of the “Morro Castle”, a ship burning off the coast of Asbury Park, New Jersey. Many hours were spent flying over the ship and adjacent water assisting in the direction of rescue efforts and locating survivors. The 119th Observation Squadron fell victim to the “draft” on September 16, 1940, when it was inducted into active service. The unit continued as the 119th until April 12, 1948, at which time it became the 490th Fighter Squadron. The 490th was disbanded in May 1944 while still at Thomasville, Georgia. It was later reconstituted on June 21, 1945, and redesignated the 119th Fighter Squadron (SE) on May 24, 1946, and allotted to the Air National Guard with P47 “‘Thunderbolts” at Newark, New Jersey.

The 119th moved to the former Atlantic City Naval Air Station, now known as the William J. Hughes Technical Center, on August 5, 1958. This change of station also brought about a change in aircraft to the F-84F. The 119th was called to active duty again in October of 1961, for the Berlin Crisis. The unit remained at home station; however, the pilots were periodically rotated to Chaumont Air Base, France. In 1962, the unit transitioned into F-86H aircraft, and two years later, to F-100 “Super Sabres”.

F-16C of the New Jersey Air National Guard

In January of 1968, a new crisis, the seizure of the American ship USS Pueblo by North Korean forces, and again the 119th was called to active duty. In May 1968, the 177th TFG/119th TFS was assigned to the 113th Tactical Fighter Wing, Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina. Personnel were spread throughout the United States, Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam with the main unit stationed at the 113th TFW. The 177th TFG/119th TFS returned to Atlantic City, New Jersey, in June 1969, and transitioned into the F-105 ‘Thunderchief” in 1970. In 1972, the 119th was redesignated as the 119th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. In 1973, the unit transitioned into the F-106 “Delta Dart” and assumed alert status the following year.

During 1988, the unit transitioned into the F-16A/B, “Fighting Falcon”.

The unit flies the F-16C/D aircraft. This version of the “Fighting Falcon” features many new and upgraded aircraft systems.