• Flooding of Buffalo Creek, West Virginia

    In the days preceding February 26, 1972, a dam collapsed and approximately 132 million gallons of black wastewater rushed through the narrow Buffalo Creek hollow. In a matter of minutes, 125 were dead, 1,100 injured, and more than 4,000 were homeless. The West Virginia National Guard responded.

  • Hurricane Katrina-Rita Relief

    In August, 2005, hurricanes Katrina and Rita dealt the residents of the Gulf Coast a devastating blow. The West Virginia National Guard responded within hours of the event as part of the largest domestic National Guard mobilization in U.S. history.

  • Southwest Border mission

    In May of 2006, President George W. Bush authorized Operation Jump Start, an initiative to send National Guard Soldiers to augment the United States Border Patrol. West Virginia National Guard members were sent to the border town of Santa Teresa, N.M. to conduct operations.

Interesting Facts & Statistics

National Guard Statistics

Air National Guard
  • 35 percent of USAF capabilities at 6 percent of the budget
  • Reserve component retirement costs are 10 percent of active duty
  • Reserve component pay averages 25 percent of an active duty member
  • In the past year, 18,366 Air Guardsmen have deployed to 62 countries and every continent
  • More than 30 percent of all deployed Air Force aircraft needs filled by ANG units
Army National Guard
  • Only 11.5 percent of the Army’s total base budget
  • Only 12.5 percent of the Army’s personnel budget
  • Average cost of ARNG Soldier is $45,000 compared to $146,000 of active duty Soldier
  • 96 percent of emergencies are handled by law enforcement or the Army National Guard
WV Army National Guard

The WVARNG has a proud history of service to both state and country. One unit, the 201st Field Artillery, is recognized as the oldest unit in the U.S. Army with continuous active service since the 17th of February, 1735. The unit is also recognized as the only remaining active unit of the original militia companies that formed the Continental Army in 1775.

Today, the WVARNG is comprised of 4,080 Soldiers and a full-time staff of nearly 800 military and civilian employees. They are located in 53 different units in communities around the state.

Since 9/11, units of the West Virginia Army National Guard have deployed multiple times to Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Kosovo and other hot spots around the world. When back in the states they have been heavily involved in disaster relief to the citizens of West Virginia.


The West Virginia Air National Guard was founded after World War II. Lt. Col. James. K. McLaughlin organized the 167th Fighter Squadron in Charleston, and it was recognized by federal authorities on March 7, 1947. The 167th’s first P-47D Thunderbolt fighter places were delivered from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. TheThunderbolts were soon replaced with the famous P-51D Mustangs.

The squadron was called to active duty during the Korean War in 1950 and moved to Godman Air Force Base in Kentucky as part of the 123rd Fighter Group. Twelve 167th pilots served in Korea and two died there, Roma Fogelsong and Lee Harper. Maj. Woodford Sutherland was killed after a training flight in Florida when his parkedP-51 was hit by another Mustang in 1951. Tragedy struck again on April 8, 1951, when a C-47 transport filled with 167th personnel going to attend Sutherland’s funeral crashed near Kanawha (now Yeager) Airport, killing 21.

The 167th was reorganized during 1953 and moved to Martinsburg in late 1955, where iit later received jet fighters, F-86H Sabres. Prior to this move the 130th Troop Carrier Squadron was formed from a cadre of 167th men who would remain in Charleston. Early in its history the 130th furnished SA-16 amphibious planes and crews assigned to help invade Cuba had the 1961 Bay of Pigs landing succeeded. The 130th operated the C-119 transports from 1963 until 1975, when they received C-130Es.

The 167th in Martinsburg lost its fighter jets on April 1, 1961, and began operating C-119s as an Aeromedical Transport Squadron. C-121G Super Constellations replaced the 119s in July of 1963, and the unit flew supply missions to Vietnam using C-121Cs. Almost phased out in 1967 and 1971, the 167th was recused by Sen. Robert C. Byrd and given C130As. During the Gulf War the 167th Tactical Airlift Group was incharge of “Operation Volant Pine” in Europe, the command unit of the five Air National Guard units. Simultaneously, the 130th flew combat support missions in the Middle East.

The 130th now operated eight C-130Hs from Yeager Airport. In 2006, the 167th traded its C-130s for ten C-5 Galaxy aircraft. In order to accommodate the huge planes at Martinsburg, more than $220 million in improvements were made to the airfield. On January 8, 2014, the Charleston Air National Guard base was renamed McLaughlin Air National Guard Base.