Celebrating a Century in the Sky

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren
  • 133rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Saint Paul, Minn. – More than 475 Airmen and guests gathered at the Union Depot in St. Paul, Minn., to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 133rd Airlift Wing. 

The history of the 133rd Airlift Wing traces back to the creation of the 109th Observation Squadron, which today is the 109th Observation Squadron.

On Sept. 26, 1920, U.S. Army Gen. Walter Rhinow, Lt. Col. William Garis, and Capt. Ray Miller took off from Curtiss Field in Falcon Height, Minn., in a rented Oriole biplane for Washington D.C. to lobby for forming a flying squadron. The trip took seven days through bad weather and with little to no air support. This impressive display of aircraft capability convinced the Militia Bureau to create the Air National Guard. On Jan. 17, 1921, the 109th Observation Squadron became the nation’s first federally recognized Air National Guard unit. 

“The wing had countless events planned during this centennial year, including the crowning event, an airshow,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Daniel Gabrielli, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Minnesota National Guard, and former commander of the 133rd Airlift Wing. “The pandemic canceled many events over the last two years, but your operations tempo never slowed. In many ways, it climbed to new heights. I am pleased, as well as the rest of the Minnesota Air National Guard leadership, to finally have the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of this wing and its outstanding airmen.” 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz also spoke, praising the Airmen for their unrelenting hard work for the state of Minnesota.  

“When history is written on the last 20 years, especially these last two years, you are going to be a big part of that," said Walz. “There will be the selfless sacrifices that went into that: whether it be federal missions, state responses to civil unrest, or the pandemic. That story is going to be written, and it is going to be written into history.”

The night concluded by awarding two airmen with medals from their recent deployment. U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Shane Trisco was presented with the Meritorious Service Medal and U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Berning was presented with the Air Force Commendation Medal.