1970 - 1990
Maintenance on the outside of C-130 of the 165th TAS / 123rd TAW. KY ANG April 1990. From 1994 Air National Guard Planning Guide calendar.
In the 1970's the Guard participated in evacuations of distressed citizens from flood-stricken areas. It guarded property and entertained evacuees of Louisville's Portland area because of a dangerous chlorine barge salvage operation, which centered the nation's eyes on Kentucky on a cold Easter weekend. During such strife the Guardsmen left their own families during the holiday weekend to provide such comforts as an Easter egg hunt for the junior evacuees. Shortly thereafter, Frankfort units were called to duty to evacuate people from the flooding Kentucky River.
The Kentucky Air Guard's 123rd's components continued to fly the RF-101 until the spring of 1976 when a no-notice conversion to RF-4C "Phantom II's" was announced by the National Guard Bureau. Unlike the single-seat RF-101, the RF-4C required a two-man crew. The backseater, or Weapons Systems Officer, was new to the Wing's aircrews.
The unit, through professional effort and exceptional leadership, effectively responded to the challenging task and progressed from non-combat ready status to full combat readiness within seven months. This is a record time frame.
The unit has received seven AFOUAs for exceptionally meritorious service. Six of those AFOUAs were received consecutively, covering approximately two-year intervals for 12 years from November 1, 1976, to March 31, 1988.
The receipt of six consecutive AFOUAs is extremely unusual, if not highly unique, in the annals of the ANG.
The AFOUAs were awarded for the unit's superior performance, inordinate esprit de corps, exceptionally meritorious achievements, and civic and community involvement bringing the Wing high visibility and favorable public acceptance.
The unit has also received the coveted Spaatz Trophy twice. In receiving the Spaatz Trophy, the 123rd TAW was singled out as the outstanding flying unit among the 91 ANG flying units.
In November 1988, the unit was directed to switch aircraft to the C-130B "Hercules" transport. The 123rd Airlift Wing was initially structured with subordinate airlift units in four states: Maryland (135th TAG); North Carolina (145th TAG); Kentucky (165th TAS); and Ohio (179th TAG). Wing Headquarters is located at Standiford Field, Louisville, Kentucky.