Col. Lars Johnson's efforts result in federal recognition of the 8144th Air Base Squadron. Johnson separates from the Army National Guard to accept a commission in the Alaska Air National Guard and simultaneous appointment as its commander and adjutant general.
The new unit gets its wings. With the arrival of the T-33s and F-80s, the unit is re-designated the 144th Fighter- Bomber Squadron.
Two separate flying accidents within one hour take the lives of the first AKANG members to die in the line of duty, including 1st Lt. Albert Kulis.
The AKANG moves into its new base near Anchorage's international airport. Unit redesignated 144th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.
Unit redesignated the 144th Transportation Squadron (Light). In December, the 144th air-drops food, clothing and toys to the Yukon River village of St. Mary's Mission. Thus is born Operation Santa Claus, the AKANG's annual airlift of donated toys and clothing to rural communities around the state.
Col. Lars Johnson retires as Chief of Staff of the organization he almost single-handedly created. Former barnstormer and bomber pilot William S. "Pappy" Elmore becomes the new AKANG commander.