Air Guard ends 86-year operation in St. Louis

Saturday, June 13, 2009 | 7:39 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — The 131st Fighter Wing has officially left St. Louis.

The last two F-15s took off from Lambert Airport on Saturday, marking the end of the Air Guard's 86-year history in St. Louis.

The federal base closure panel voted to shut down the 131st Fighter Wing in 2005. Efforts by state and federal lawmakers to overturn the decision failed.

Some of the wing's administrative duties will remain in St. Louis, but pilots, maintenance and operations personnel are being transferred to Whiteman Air Force Base in western Missouri. The pilots there will be the only Air Guard unit flying the B-2 stealth bomber.

Many retirees were on hand for the ceremony Saturday. The unit dates back to 1923 and featured such pilots as Capt. Charles Lindbergh.



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