Photo Courtesy of 179th Airlift Wing
179thDeploys to Middle East
MANSFIELD, Ohio – Approximately 150 members of the Ohio Air National Guard’s179thAirlift Wing (AW) recently departed for a deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield. A majority of the members are from the 164th Airlift Squadron and179thMaintenance Group. They will be flying and maintaining the C-130H aircraft as part of intra-theater operations across the area of responsibility.
Members of the179thAirlift Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, will be the lead unit and augmented by active duty and reserve members in their forward deployed environments. The primary mission for members of the179thAW will be to provide direct support to the combatant commander.
179thAW Commander, Col. Todd K. Thomas said,"Our Airmen are combat tested and prepared to provide a high level of tactical air-land and airdrop capabilities to the deployed commander 24/7.” Thomas added, “This past year has presented a unique and difficult set of circumstances to navigate and prepare for this but our Airmen have stepped up to serve and we're extremely proud of their commitment."
Due to COVID-19 mitigation measures, deploying members left in smaller groups on separate aircraft spanned out over several days. Each group was COVID-19 tested and restricted of unnecessary public movements leading up to their departure to mitigate any possible spread.
Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general, was joined by Maj. Gen. James R. Camp, assistant Ohio adjutant general for Air, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Heidi A. Bunker, state command chief, in seeing the groups off. All members are expected to return by early fall 2021.
Harris said, “Good luck on your mission. God bless you. I don’t exaggerate when I say that you’re in my family’s prayers every single night.”