March 09, 2011
In August 1990, nurses, medical technicians, medical service corps officers and radio operators from the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Flight (AEF), Delaware Air National Guard, became involved in Operation Desert Shield very shortly after the invasion of Kuwait. This group provided the first aeromedical evacuation liaison team in the theater of operations. These individuals served in Saudi Arabia, Turkey or Germany depending on their specialties. Before activating full units of the Delaware Air Guard, over 150 members would participate on 30- or 60- day tours to the Middle East.
In November 1990, the 249th Engineer Detachment and the 736th Supply and Service Battalion of the Delaware Army National Guard were placed on alert status and very shortly thereafter placed on active duty to participate in Operation Desert Shield.
The 249th was a 70-person unit consisting of carpenters, electricians, brick masons, plumbers, and pipefitters whose mission was to provide facilities engineering at fixed installations. Their mission in Saudi Arabia was to maintain a military base camp with the number of personnel reaching 25,000. They built and repaired facilities along with minor road and construction work. After the war, the 249th completely overhauled an abandoned recreation center. Thousands of soldiers were able to reap the benefits of the 249th's efforts in the center.
The 736th had over 60 personnel who provided services to troops in the field. They distributed supplies and food, controlled critical inventory and managed logistics for King Khalid Military City. This included operating Log Base Bravo, post exchanges, mess halls and the clothing facility.
In December, members of the 142nd AEF were again incrementally activated and deployed to the Persian Gulf in 14 different locations.
In January 1991 the Headquarters 166th Tactical Airlift Group, 166th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and the 142nd Tactical Airlift Squadron were activated involving over 275 Air Guard members. Shortly thereafter, members of the 166th Tactical Clinic were also called upon, bringing the total Air Guard involvement to over 350. All eight of our C-130 Hercules aircraft were deployed with the Air Guard to the Persian Gulf
The Air Guard merged with the 1670th Tactical Airlift Provisional, part of the largest composite Air Force Wing in the entire Persian Gulf area. The unit flew missions carrying personnel and fuel bladders critical to destroying the Iraqi Republican Guard. They were also one of the first crews that flew into Kuwait International Airport to begin rebuilding. In May, they moved a significant portion of the Shiite Muslim refugees to a camp in Saudi Arabia.
In January and February personnel from the 166th Civil Engineering Squadron were tasked with the 100% enlargement of the mortuary facility at Dover AFB, DE.
The Air Guard returned May 31 with a gala celebration at the airbase with dignitaries and family members.
On June 15 the 249th returned to Delaware with another grand event for their homecoming.
Last, and certainly not least, was the 736's homecoming ceremony on July 27
Once again, Delaware Guard members proved they were ready, willing and able to support and defend in time of need.