Meridian/Key Field (MEI) Lauderdale County (MS)

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Key Field Air National Guard (ANG) Base

Mississippi ANG

Key Field is home to the Mississippi Air National Guard (ANG) 186th Air Refueling Wing (ARW). The 186th ARW operates a fleet of KC-135R Stratotankers which is a mid-air refueler that can carry as much as 30,000 gallons of fuel to all parts of the World. Air rescue and fire fighting capabilites are also provided by the Air National Guard.

In its 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations, the Department of Defense (DoD) recommended to realign the Key Field Air Guard Station. It would distribute the 186th ARW’s KC-135R aircraft to the 128th ARW, General Mitchell Air Guard Station, WI (three aircraft); the 134th ARW, McGhee-Tyson Airport Air Guard Station, TN (three aircraft); and 101st ARW, Bangor International Airport Air Guard Station, ME (two aircraft). One aircraft would revert to backup aircraft inventory. The 186th Air Refueling Wing’s fire fighter positions would move to the 172d Air Wing at Jackson International Airport, MS, and the expeditionary combat support (ECS) would remain in place.

In June of 2013, KC-135 tankers began to be returned to the 186th ARW and the refueling mission of the wing is now fully restored.

Home of Air-to-Air Refueling

At 12:32 p.m. on June 4, 1935, brothers Al and Fred Key lifted off the grass strip of Meridian's airport in an effort to break the world record for sustained flight. Working with other Meridianites such as A.D. Hunter and James Keeton, the Key brothers devised a workable method of air-to-air refueling in order to attempt this feat.

The record they established in their 27 days aloft, totaling 653 hours and 34 minutes, remains unbroken in conventional flight. Not until orbiting space labs did man stay aloft longer. When they landed at 6:06 p.m. on July 1, 1935, before a crowd of between 30,000 and 40,000 fans gathered at the airfield, the Meridian airport was renamed "Key Field" in their honor, the name it retains today.

Other Tenants

  • 185th Theater Aviation Brigade, Company B, 1-111th Aviation
  • 286th Air Operations Group (286 AOG)
286th Air Support Squadron (286 ASUS)

186th Air Refueling Wing (186 ARW)

186th ARW


  • KC-135R Stratotanker
  • C-26 Metroliner
  • MC-12 Liberty

The 186th ARW provides worldwide air refueling support to major commands of the United States Air Force, as well as other U.S. military forces and the military forces of allied nations flying the KC-135 Stratotanker.

With over 1,200 officers and Airmen, the 186th is made up of mostly traditional guardsmen who live and work throughout Mississippi and surrounding states, but about one third of the members are full-time Air technicians or Active Guard/Reserve. Tenant units on Key Field include the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron, the 248th Air Traffic Control Support, and the 286th Air Operations Group as well as two Army National Guard units located next to the base.

The 186th Air Refueling Wing also supports a C-26B aircraft, modified to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in the U.S. and overseas. Stateside, the C-26 supports local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in counterdrug efforts while overseas missions support imagery collection taskings for combatant commanders. The C-26 program has worked directly with law enforcement agencies since 1996 providing National Guard unique support to battle illegal narcotics and illicit drugs. The C-26 is manned full-time and the program is managed through the Mississippi National Guard Counterdrug Coordinator's office in conjunction with other counterdrug programs that assist our communities and nation through our Governor's Counterdrug State Plan.

The 186 ARW consists of the following units

  • 186th Operations Group
153rd Air Refueling Squadron
  • 186th Maintenance Group
  • 186th Mission Support Group
  • 186th Medical Group
  • 238th Air Support Operations Squadron (238 ASOS) (tenant unit of the 186th ARW.)
  • 248th Air Traffic Control Squadron

153rd Air Refueling Squadron (153 ARS)

153rd ARS
  • Call Signs - JAKE, KEYS
  • Tail Code - Black tail stripe, "Mississippi" in yellow letters
  • Aircraft - KC-135R Stratotanker

The 153 ARS is a descendant organization of the 153d Observation Squadron, one of the 29 original National Guard Observation Squadrons of the United States Army National Guard formed before World War II.

The squadron utilizes eight KC-135R Stratotankers to accomplish it's mission of providing air refueling support to major commands of the United States Air Force, as well as other U.S. military forces and the military forces of allied nations.

238th Air Support Operations Squadron (238 ASOS)

The 238th ASOS is a tenant unit of the 186th ARW. The 238th began in 1954 as a communication service flight and has undergone numerous changes, but the most recent designation of Air Support has added new excitement at Key Field. The 238th ASOS mission is to provide the interface between the Army units it supports and the Air Force units that provide combat air support. The squadron advises the ground commander on the capabilities and limitations of combat aircraft weapons and assists in planning for combat air support. Since becoming fully operational in 2003, the 238th has participated in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom as well as numerous joint services exercises.

248th Air Traffic Control Squadron

The Wing's 248th Air Traffic Control Squadron was commissioned on October 1, 1997. The squadron consists of approximately 90 members who are responsible for all air traffic control operations at Key Field including military, commercial, and civilian flights. Assets include a Mobile Tower , Mobile Radar and Mobile TACAN. The tower, radar and TACAN can be deployed and operational

286th Air Operations Group (286 AOG)

The 286th Air Operations Group is now a tenant unit of Key Field. The mission of the 286th AOG is to act in support of 1st Air Force command air and space operations and to work closely with local governments during times of natural disasters. The unit will boast about 310 members of the Mississippi Air National Guard during peak periods.

286th Air Support Squadron (286 ASUS)

The 286 ASUS mission is to support homeland defense and domestic disaster-response missions of the Continental US NORAD Region and 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) at Tyndall Air Force Base , FL. The squadron serves as the focal point for planning, directing and assessing operations across the spectrum of Air, Space, Maritime and Cyber Operations.

185th Theater Aviation Brigade, B/1-111th Aviation

185th Theater Aviation Brigade
  • Call Sign - ??
  • Tail Code - ??
  • Aircraft - CH-47 Chinook
  • Motto - ??
  • Nickname - ??

Company B, 1st Battalion, 111th Aviation Regiment operates a fleet of CH-47 Chinook helicopters. The Chinook is a multi-purpose transport/cargo helicopter capable of carrying 55 troops and gear or can also sling-load up to 25,000 pounds.

Radio Comunications

  • VHF/UHF Air (AM) and LMR (FM) bands

186 ARW/153 ARS Operations

Aerial Refueling Routes (as of Q3-Q4 2014)
Preset Frequency Type Alpha Tag Description Mode Service
?? 324.600 BM AR101 Primary Route 101 Primary AM Military
?? 327.600 BM AR103 Primary Route 102 Primary AM Military
?? 348.900 BM AR108 Primary Route 108 Primary AM Military
?? 278.750 BM AR302 Primary Route 302 Primary AM Military
?? 295.450 BM AR615 Primary Route 615 Primary AM Military
?? 238.900 BM AR646 Primary Route 646 Primary AM Military
?? 260.200 BM AR Backup Backup for all of the above AM Military
?? 235.100 BM AR200 Primary Route 200 Primary AM Military
?? 319.700 BM AR200 Backup Route 200 Backup AM Military
?? 321.300 BM AR Boom 321.3 AR??? Boom frequency 321.3 AM Military
?? 252.550 BM AR Boom 252.55 AR??? Boom frequency 252.55 AM Military
186th Air Refueling Wing (as of Q3-Q4 2014)
?? 292.300 BM 186 ARW CP 186th ARW Command Post AM Military
?? 311.300 BM 311.300 MHz JAZZ/REX F-15s referred to as "Tanker rendezvous freq" with 186 ARW tankers AM Military
?? 121.600 BM 185 AVN Ops VHF Taken from IFR Supplement, usage not confirmed AM Military
?? 242.400 BM 185 AVN Ops UHF Taken from IFR Supplement, usage not confirmed AM Military
Operation Southern Strike 15 (Q4 2014)
?? 242.400 BM 185 AVN Ops UHF BEAST06 calling WARLORD AM Military
?? 244.300 BM 244.300 MHz KEYS10 RC-26B ADFD74 usage AM Military
?? 377.825 BM 377.825 MHz KEYS 10, VOODOO 01 RC-26B's, VULTURE/J-STARS Primary AM Military
?? 388.500 BM 388.500 MHz KEYS 10, VOODOO 01 RC-26B's, VULTURE/J-STARS Primary AM Military
?? 351.650 BM CONDOR OPS/JOC RC-26 Joint Operations Center AM Military
?? 228.050 BM JSTARS 228.05 J-STARS 228.050 MHz AM Military

Click to Enlarge

Antiquated Frequency Info

This list is extremely old and unlikely to produce any results
8989 KHz HF 163.4875 165.1375 165.1625 173.5375 235.500
255.800 375.800 374.900 407.427 36.250 406.1625

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