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I had the privilege of being a member of the 183 Tactical Fighter Group, Illinois Air National Guard. I stayed in for about 12 years, got out when attending drill weekends was difficult due to my work schedule. I have regretted that move since the day I made it.

I started out as a clerk typist, but I lucked into a photographer's slot in the base photo lab. My favorite part of my job there was in the darkroom. We worked mostly in black and white, some color slides.

The 183rd flew F-4's when I was involved, and the pilots of the group often out performed their active duty counterparts in exercises such as Red Flag out at Nellis AFB.

Time moves on, and despite the outstanding history of the unit, unfortunate things happened during Desert Storm, and the unit ultimately lost it's flying status during a base realignment effort. Today, the unit is now the 183rd Wing, and their mission is totally different. The ramp is full of surplus vehicles, and the hanger no longer houses any aircraft. A sad day in my mind, I so much miss the sound of the fighters taking off and landing over my house, about 2 miles off of the end of one of the active runways. There has been talk off and on about putting aircraft back at the base, but I won't hold my breath.

The pictures in this gallery are some of the aircraft that this unit has flown through it's history. They stand guard outside of the base at the main entrance. Beautiful flying machines, every one of them.

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