Guard Unit Bids Farewell to F-16s

After 50 years of protecting the Texas Gulf Coast, the Texas Air National Guard’s 147th Fighter Wing has conducted its final F-16 mission. Houston’s KHOU TV News 11 reported June 7 that the last two of the wing’s Vipers flew over their home of Ellington Field, Tex., one last time June 7 during a farewell ceremony. The unit, which will now be known as the 147th Reconnaissance Wing, is transitioning to MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles under changes mandated by BRAC 2005. Of the two F-16s in the ceremony, one will be put on display at the base’s entrance, while the second will join the unit’s other 29 Vipers at the boneyard. The first Predators are scheduled to arrive at Ellington in 2012, but members of the wing are already at Creech AFB, Nev., learning how to fly them. Up to four F-16s from the Oklahoma ANG’s 138th FW will be stationed at Ellington to protect the coast, the news station reported.