The Early Years
The 111th Fighter Wing history begins with the establishment of the 103rd Observation Squadron in June 1924. The 103rd was founded and eventually commanded by Major Charles Biddle, who had flown in World War I as part of the famous Lafayette Escadrilles (a volunteer group of American pilots flying French aircraft before our country's entry into WWI). This new National Guard squadron was based on the sod fields of Philadelphia Airport as a unit in the Army 28th Division. The 103rd has operated continually since its federal recognition in 1924, evolving over the years to become the 103rd Fighter Squadron; which is the current flying element of the 111th Fighter Wing.
The Air National Guard as we know it today -- a separate reserve component of the United States Air Force -- was a product of the politics of postwar planning and interservice rivalry during World War II. The men who planned and maneuvered for an independent postwar Air Force during World War II didn't place much faith in the reserves, especially the state-dominated National Guard.