133rd Airlift Wing to commemorate 100th anniversary

September 21, 2020 (FALCON HEIGHTS, Minnesota) — The 133rd Airlift Wing is hosting a 100th anniversary ceremony to commemorate the historical flight that resulted in the birth of the Air National Guard in 1921. The ceremony, scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 26th 2020, will kick off a series of celebratory events marking the Centennial of the first Air National Guard unit in the country.

The program will start at 11:30 a.m., featuring U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, The Adjutant General of Minnesota and U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Daniel Gabrielli, Chief of Staff, Minnesota Air National Guard as guest speakers. At 11:50 a.m., a C-130 Hercules from the 133rd Airlift Wing will fly over Curtiss Field.

Parking arrangements have been made at the North State Fair parking lot located at the corner of Hoyt Ave. West and Snelling Drive. There is no parking at Curtiss Field or on the city streets in the surrounding area. All attendees of the ceremony will be shuttled to and from Curtiss Field where COVID-19 restrictions will be enforced. Those that choose not to follow Minnesota Department of Health guidance will be asked to leave. Per the State of Minnesota Guidance for Safe Celebrations and Events, attendance is limited to 250 persons.

The 133rd Airlift Wing has a proud heritage as part of the Minnesota National Guard. On Sept. 26, 1920, U.S. Army Gen. Walter Rhinow, Lt. Col. William C. Garis and Capt. Ray S. Miller rented a Curtiss Oriole biplane and made a daring seven-day journey, crossing half the United States to lobby for the formation of a flying squadron. Because of this dauntless display of aircraft capability and the obvious lack of air support, the Militia Bureau formed the Air National Guard and on January 17th, 1921, the 109th Observation Squadron was federally recognized as the first federally-recognized Air National Guard unit in the nation. The 133rd Airlift Wing is now home to the 109th Airlift Squadron, based out of the Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport. It is the descendent unit of the original 109th Observation Squadron.

To culminate these historic events, and centennial of the 109th Airlift Squadron, the Minnesota Air National Guard is hosting an Air Force Open House and Air Expo in July 2021. This two-day event at Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport is open to the public at no cost.

Media is invited to cover the ceremony on Sept. 26, 2020. Please RSVP by Thursday Sept. 24 2020 at noon to 133.aw.pa.mailbox.org@us.af.mil <mailto:133.aw.pa.mailbox.org@us.af.mil> . For questions or more information, call the 133rd Airlift Wing’s Public Affairs office at 612-713-2410 or email 133.aw.pa.mailbox.org@us.af.mil <mailto:133.aw.pa.mailbox.org@us.af.mil> .