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St Paul (KROC AM News) - A Minnesota military unit will observe a significant and historic anniversary this weekend.

But instead of breaking out cake and balloons, it will be involved in the security operation at the US Capitol.

The Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing will provide transportation for the 130 state soldiers who are being deployed as part of the military security detail for next week’s presidential inauguration activities.

"Every four years National Guardsmen from throughout the country are called to assist local units supporting the inauguration," said Colonel Scott
Rohweder, Minnesota National Guard Director of Operations. "We are proud and ready to serve the nation at this historic event."

This coming Sunday is a big day for the 133rd Airlift Wing.

It will mark exactly 100 years since a squadron at the unit received federal recognition, creating the first Air National Guard unit in the country.

According to the Minnesota National Guard:
It started on Sept. 26, 1920, when U.S. Army Gen. Walter Rhinow, Lt. Col. William Garis and Capt. Ray Miller rented a Curtiss Oriole biplane and made a daring seven-day journey to Washington, D.C. to lobby for the formation of a flying squadron. Due in part to this impressive display of aircraft capability, even with a significant lack of air support, the Militia Bureau formed the Air National Guard and on January 17, 1921, the 109th Observation Squadron was federally recognized as the first Air National Guard unit in the nation.

Today’s 109th Airlift Squadron is the direct descendent unit of the original 109th Observation Squadron, located at the 133rd Airlift Wing. The Wing is attached to the Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport.

Lt. Col. Dana Novinskie is the current commander of the 109th Airlift Squadron. She is the first female flying squadron commander in the Wing’s history.

“I consider it a privilege to serve, both at the state and federal levels. Our Wing has an important mission. I am honored to command the 109th Airlift Squadron and look forward to being a part of expanding its legacy,” said Novinskie.

The 133rd Airlift Wing operates C-130 Hercules aircraft. Last year the Wing logged an impressive 2,000 flying hours in support of overseas missions, and here at home members were called up at a record pace to assist with civil unrest, COVID testing, support in long-term care facilities and other State Active Duty missions.

Quiz: How many of these spots in Southeast Minnesota can you name?