Another wave of members from the Ohio Air National Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing (AW) in Mansfield departed Saturday for a near four-month deployment to the Middle East. A majority of the members leaving this weekend are C-130H aircraft maintainers.

The Ohio unit is joining with the Alaska Air National Guard to complete a tactical airlift and airdrop mission. The primary mission for the 179th AW will be to assist with the transferring equipment, supplies and personnel throughout the region.

179th Maintenance Group Deputy Commander, Lt. Col. Patricia Barr said, “It’s a great team effort by everyone to prepare and depart for a major deployment. There is an enormous amount of effort that goes on behind the scenes between the Logistics Readiness Squadron, Unit Deployment Mangers, Force Support Squadron and Comptroller Flight; just to list a few, to ensure that everything happens without delay. It truly is a wing effort.”

The members of the 179th AW spent the last several months working to ensure that airmen, aircraft and cargo were ready to go.

Barr said, “Aircraft and airmen have to be prepared specifically for that type of environment and that is a dual task for a maintainer. It requires focus to get everyone out the door and still support the home station mission. We are sending some of our most experienced mechanics along with some of our newest. This will be an invaluable experience in every aspect.

The newer mechanics will gain technical strength and knowledge for his or her job skills and become a well-rounded maintainer because of the hands on every day experience. Once they get there it’s one team; one fight.”

Getting this deployment started correctly was a huge accomplishment after coming out of conversion for the 179th AW and is just the beginning of many successful missions to come. This mission will bring valuable experience to the state of Ohio and the Ohio Air National Guard.

Staff report