Baer Field was sold to the city of Ft. Wayne at the close of World War II for a single dollar and renamed Ft. Wayne Municipal Airport. In its five years of war service, over 100,000 soldiers served at the military airport. Today the airport transports about 60,000 passengers per year and over 1000 tons of cargo to and from seven daily, non-stop destinations and several single-stop locations around the world. It is also the home of the 122d Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard.
The 122nd FW is descended originally 358th Fighter Group which flew sorties from 1942 to 1945. The 358th was one of the most honored groups in the European Theater. It was redesignated the 122d Fighter Group and allotted to the Indiana Air National Guard in 1946. Although it began life in the Air National Guard flying out of Stout Army Field, it was transferred to Baer Field in Ft. Wayne in 1954. In its time the 122d has been assigned several classes of fighter jets: P-51 Mustangs; F-80 Shooting Stars; F-86 Sabrejets; F-84 Thunderstreaks, and F-16Cs. Today, following BRAC 2005 realignment, the 122d flies the AC-10, known as “Warthogs” or simply “hogs.”
The AC-10 was originally developed in the early 1970s to provide close air support (CAS) to ground troops. It is a low speed (350mph), low altitude prowler capable of carrying the largest in-air canon in the Air Force’s arsenal. Although newer aircraft have been designed for CAS missions, none has performed as well as the Warthog, which is scheduled to remain the CAS jet of choice until 2028.
The AC-10 has several flight specs which make it a desirable jet for both war zones and in humanitarian and disaster relief efforts at home. In combat it can provide CAS for ground forces as well as secondary service providing forward air control—guiding other aircraft to their targets. It is also the premier craft for search and rescue missions where its superiority and low speeds and altitudes are more useful.