FD Air National Guard marks anniversary

The Iowa Air National Guard unit in Fort Dodge will mark 65 years of service to the nation with some special events on Friday and Saturday.

The public is invited to join members of the 133rd Test Squadron Friday night for an Airman’s Ball.

Then on Saturday, squadron members will show off their recently modernized facilities during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house. U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, and Maj. Gen. Timothy Orr, the adjutant general of Iowa, are expected to attend.

Lt. Col. Jeff Clemens, the squadron’s commander, said the Airman’s Ball will begin at 6 p.m. Friday at the unit’s compound on Webster County Road P56 north of the city. He said a tailgate-style dinner will be served. He said the band Planet Rock will begin playing at 7 p.m. and will continue until 11:30 p.m.

Admission to the dinner and dance will cost $10 per person, according to Clemens.

The ribbon cutting and rededication ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the unit’s compound. It will mark the completion of a $5.6 million renovation project that began in July 2009.

During that project, the unit’s headquarters building was completely remodeled. Also, a new 7,000-square-foot vehicle maintenance garage was built. A geothermal system was installed to heat and cool both buildings.

The open house will immediately follow the ceremony.

The 133rd Test Squadron specializes in testing new communications gear, radar, data links and software for all branches of the military. It is the only Air National Guard unit of its kind.

The squadron has about 140 members.

It was established on June 1, 1948, as the 133rd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron. Since then it has always had the numeric designation of 133rd, but its title has changed. The unit has been known as a tactical control squadron, forward air control flight and air control squadron at various times. It became a test squadron in 2002.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks the unit developed a system to improve radar coverage of the entire country.

The squadron received the 2012 Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. It has received that honor six times.