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Utah Air National Guard celebrates 75 years

Posted at 10:17 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 00:17:07-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Air National Guard is celebrating 75 years of service to the state and the country.

The Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base sits on the corner of the Salt Lake City International Airport and has housed the men and women who have served for the entirety of the unit's existence.

“The Utah Air Guard was created actually before the U.S. Air Force, so we are born from the old Army Air Corps,” Master Sgt. John Winn with the Utah Air National Guard explained. “And as soldiers were coming back from World War II, they stood up this small little rinky-dink shop on the side of the airport in Salt Lake City.”

Today, the base houses many different resources, including explosive experts, firefighters, soldiers, military police, disaster response, and other resources used to protect the public.

“With those tools, we can do just about anything; we can go just about anywhere,” Winn said.

One of the most important missions of this base is the 151st Air Refueling Wing, one of only 27 in the world.

"Jets need to take off and they need to take on fuel, and we are here to support them in their greater mission,” Winn said.

“I feel like every time I step foot in this jet, it's a memorable experience," Capt. Scyler Gale, one of the pilots for the Utah Air Force National Guard, said about the refueling aircraft.

The planes they fly are called KC-135R Stratotankers, and their main mission is to refuel other aircraft mid-flight in order for them to continue their mission.

The next generation of KC-135s is also being developed by the teams at the 151st Wing, with the most advanced plane in the world now residing in Utah and being used as a test platform to upgrade the aging airframe.