Fort Wayne was named for Army Maj. Gen, Anthony “Mad Anthony” Wayne. He carried the nickname “Blacksnake,” which also serves as the monicker for the Indiana Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing.
About Mad Anthony
Mad Anthony fought in the Revolutionary War and was known for leading his troops in difficult battles along the East Coast. He had a methodical style which made him famous.
Mad Anthony and his men would lay in wait, finding the perfect time to strike. The North American Black Snake utilized the same approach, leading the Native Americans to call him “Black Snake.”
According to Air Force Master Sgt. William Hopper, “The Blacksnakes are proud of the name’s historical significance and connection it gives us to our local community and hometown of Fort Wayne.”
In 1779, Wayne was in charge of 1,350 troops that were positioned near Stony Point, a town 30 miles north of New York. They were sneaking up on the British in the dark, climbing up the rough hills to the point.
The British were distracted by a secondary battalion on the eastern side. The sneak attack was perfectly executed, with Wayne and his men taking the British and their position in 20 minutes, making the Battle of Stony Point his most famous achievement.
Congress awarded Wayne with a Medal. However, that battle was not his only victory. He battled in Philadelphia, Monmouth, Yorktown, and Georgia. He and his men usually fought in impossible battles.
The nickname “Mad” came from his “possessing a foolhardiness in battle that went beyond prudence” and his “florid, impetuous language.”
He ended up putting a stop to the resistance from the Native Americans in the midwest with 1,000 soldiers. However, when Fort Wayne’s City Council made a “Mad Anthony Day,” the Miami tribe protested because of his role in taking the Native Americans from tribal lands.
The 122nd is working on painting their A-10’s with a commemorative “Blacksnake” design in honor of their namesake. There are even fangs and snake eyes painted around the 30mm rotary cannon.
They also commemorate the 100 years of military aviation for the Indiana Air National Guard, with the “100” painted boldly on the sides. The first squadron was launched in 1921 with the 137th Observation Squadron.