The unit was organized at Mansfield on 20 June 1948, as the 164th Fighter Squadron, with 41 officers and 177 airmen. Predecessor units can be traced back to the 363rd Fighter Squadron of World War II, which was originally activated on 1 December 1942 and saw combat in the European Theater of Operations. The 164th received F-51D Mustang fighters, a B-26 Invader attack bomber, and a C-47 transport. In 1953, the unit entered the jet age with the arrival of the F-80 Shooting Star, which was subsequently replaced by the F-84E Thunderjet and F-84F Thunderstreak.
On 10 November 1958, the unit was re-designated the 164th Tactical Fighter Squadron. It was called to active duty on 1 October 1961 during the Berlin Crisis, and contributed personnel and equipment to the 7121st Tactical Fighter Wing stationed at Etain Air Base, France. In August 1962, the unit was released from active duty and reverted to the control of the State of Ohio. Shortly thereafter, on 16 October 1962, the unit was re-designated the 179th Tactical Fighter Group, with the Fighter Squadron retaining the original 164th designation.
An impressive air show marked the dedication of a new administrative building on 9 September 1967. The building was named in honor of Brig Gen Lahm. In 1972, the unit converted to the newer and faster F-100 aircraft. (Note: This building was replaced in 1998 and the new administration building was rededicated to Brig Gen Lahm on 6 June 1999).
The 179th closed out its tactical fighter mission on 5 January 1976. At this time, the unit converted to the C-130B Hercules aircraft. Upgrade to the C-130H was completed in 1991.
The 179th Airlift Wing was active during Desert Shield/Storm providing airlift support throughout the Continental United States and Europe. Portions of the 179th Airlift Wing were activated during Desert Shield/Storm and served in the US, Europe and Saudi Arabia.
179th Airlift Wing has been the recipient of numerous awards, decorations, and recognitions, including the USAF Outstanding Unit Award, (twice), the Colonel Alan P. Tappan Memorial Trophy (Outstanding Ohio Air National Guard Unit - seven times), the Curtis N. "Rusty" Metcalf Trophy (Outstanding Air National Guard Airlift/Tanker unit), the Maj Gen John T. Pesch Flight Safety Award, the Air National Guard Comptroller Organization of the Year, the MAC Outstanding Intelligence Branch of the Year, Air National Guard Maintenance Effectiveness Award, first runner-up 21AF Outstanding Reserve Forces Unit, in addition to many individual awards and decorations for outstanding performance.
The 179th Airlift Wing has participated in humanitarian airlift efforts throughout the world including Provide Relief/Restore Hope in Somalia, has been involved in Operation Provide Promise in Bosnia, in support of UN relief efforts and Operations Joint Guard & Forge in support of NATO operating out of Rhein-Main and Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The 179AW responded to disaster relief tasking in the wake of hurricane's Hugo, Andrew and Katrina. The 179th was tasked to provide airlift support for invading forces in Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy and served as lead unit for the Air National Guard deployment for Operation Southern Watch in support of the Southwest Asia no-fly zone.