SWANTON, OH (WTOL) - Everybody is familiar with the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard at Toledo Express Airport.
But the centerpiece of the wing is the 112th Fighter Squadron which celebrated its 100th anniversary on Saturday.
To simplify this the 180th and 112th are one in the same.
They just have different numerical designations.
"We can do everything from homeland defense. We have jets on alert 24/7 to defend the nation. We can also rapidly deploy aircraft overseas if called upon to do that as well," said Col. Michael Divio, 180th Operations Group Commander.
There are currently 1,000 airmen and women, known as 'Stingers', stationed at Express.
Forty percent of them are full-time.
The 112th was first headquartered in San Antonio, Texas a century ago, moved to Ohio and has called Express home since 1957.
Joe Doran, a retired member of the the 112th, remembers doing maintenance on the jets.
"We had airplanes that the Air Force didn't want anymore. Retired, worn out. We put them together and flew them better than they could," said Mr. Doran.
And that tradition continues with a new generation of 'Stingers" who are always on standby in our own backyard, ready to be called to duty to keep our country free.