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Men of the 185th Tactical Fighter Group were present or accounted for at their 7A.M. muster Saturday, 27 Jan 68, at the Sioux City Air Base. Col Donald Forney, Group Commander, told them their first few days as fulltime servicemen will be long ones.

The men went through their first day as regular Air Force personnel following the call-up. Their first day was occupied primarily with paperwork, records processing, and orientation on their new status.

In greeting his men at the muster formation Col Forney said “Welcome aboard, I know that’s sounds like a Navy term, but that’s the basic reason you are here.”

The veteran airman of World War II and the Korean conflict told his men “we have a good outfit, one to be proud of.”

He then read letters from Gov. Harold Hughes and MG Junior Miller, Adjutant General of Iowa.

Both letters referred to personal problems caused by the suddenness of the call following the presidential order.

Col Forney outlined some procedures for his men and told them there would be a clothing inspection today. He said there were limited funds to purchase replacement clothing but that later you will be buying your own uniform from you clothing allotments.

He said a daily bulletin will be issued to keep the men informed and then added he still doesn’t know what groups orders will be…except to mobilize and process “in place” (at the Sioux City Air Base).

During a press conference following the muster, the Colonel said the men will be training more than eight hours a day at first, and that processing would get under way immediately.

Morale of the men in the unit is good. “They’ve all thought about the possible mobilization” and “we try to impress the risk on them when they join the group. We have to be combat ready.


*The above story originally appeared in the February, 1968 edition of the Iowa National Guard Hawkeye Newsletter. The 185th Tactical Fighter Group was one of only four Air Guard fighter units mobilized for service in Vietnam. Fifty years ago this month, on January 26, 1968, the 185th was recalled to active Federal service because of the “Pueblo Crisis.” The 174th Tactical Fighter Squadron eventually deployed to Phu Cat Air Base, South Vietnam in May 1968 with 25 Aircraft and 375 personal. During the course of the next 90 days, the remainder of the 185th deployed to six military bases in Korea and several others within the continental United States.

During their year in Vietnam, the 174th flew 6,539 combat sorties totaling 11,359 hours of combat time. One pilot was killed in action and two airmen were killed on active duty. The unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the Air Force Outstanding Unit award. Individually, its members were awarded 12 silver stars, 35 distinguished flying crosses, 30 bronze stars, 115 commendation medals, 325 air medals, and 1 purple heart. The unit returned to Sioux City on May 28, 1969.

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