The South Dakota Air National Guard’s 114th Fighter Wing’s history began during World War II with the 356th Fighter Group. It became a post–World War II Air Guard unit, initially flying the North American F-51D Mustang removed from storage as the active duty Air Force began transitioning to turbojet fighters. It was slowly upgraded to turbojet aircraft, first with the T-33 trainer to assist pilots into to the F-94 Starfighter. One of the most dramatic upgrades was with the F-89D Norhtrop Scorpion, which had onboard radar for all-weather interception, and the F-89J, armed with the nuclear warhead Genie rockets to shoot down Russian bombers. Its first supersonic fighter was the Convair F-102A Delta Dagger, a delta-wing fighter. The wing continued to transition through various turbojet fighters to the current General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon from 1992 to the present. The unit is fully integrated into the US Air Force’s aerial defense of the United States and the Global War on Terrorism.
Lt. Col. George A. Larson, USAF (Ret.), served more than 22 years as an intelligence officer. He is a military and aviation writer who has published numerous books and hundreds of magazine articles.