179th Airlift Wing
|179th Airlift Wing|
179th Airlift Wing C-27J Spartan flying over Mansfield Control Tower
|Branch||Air National Guard|
|Part of||Ohio Air National Guard|
|Garrison/HQ||Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base, Mansfield, Ohio|
|Nickname(s)||Mansfield's Air Guard|
|179th Airlift Wing emblem|
The 179th Airlift Wing (179 AW) is a unit of the Ohio Air National Guard, stationed at Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base, Mansfield, Ohio. If activated to federal service, the 179 AW is gained by the Air Mobility Command as part of the United States Air Force. The 179th’s mission is to utilize the C-130H Hercules to provide direct airlift support to the United States Army. The primary mission of the C-130H is to deliver time sensitive/mission critical supplies the “last tactical mile,” as well as to provide for airlift in support of homeland defense operations.
The 179th Airlift Wing consists of the following units:
- 179th Operations Group
- 179th Maintenance Group
- 179th Mission Support Group
- 179th Medical Group
- 200th RED HORSE Squadron
On 15 October 1962, the Ohio Air National Guard 164th Tactical Fighter Squadron was authorized to expand to a group level, and the 179th Tactical Fighter Group was established by the National Guard Bureau. The 164th TFS becoming the group's flying squadron. Other squadrons assigned into the group were the 179th Headquarters, 179th Material Squadron (Maintenance), 179th Combat Support Squadron, and the 179th USAF Dispensary.
Tactical Air Command
Equipped with F-84F Thunderstreaks, the new group was assigned to the Ohio ANG 121st Tactical Fighter Wing at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio. The 179th TFG was tasked with a tactical fighter-bomber mission to augment Tactical Air Command.
The squadron continued normal peacetime training throughout the 1960s. Individual squadron members volunteered for duty during the Vietnam War, however the 164th was not federalized in 1968 as the F-84Fs were not considered front line combat aircraft. In February 1972, the squadron retired its Thunderstreaks and converted to the F-100 Super Sabre as a result of the American draw-down from the Vietnam War.
The squadron flew the F-100s until the winter of 1976 when the 179th was transferred from Tactical Air Command to Military Airlift Command on 5 January. At this time, the unit converted to the C-130B Hercules and received a complement of eight aircraft. With the change of equipment, the unit was designated a Tactical Airlift Group. Upgrade to the C-130H was completed in 1991.
The 179th Airlift Group was active during 1991 Gulf War providing airlift support throughout the Continental United States and Europe. Portions of the 179th were activated during Desert Shield/Storm and served in the US, Europe and Saudi Arabia.
In March 1992, the 179th adopted the USAF Objective Wing organization and became simply the 179th Airlift Group; the 164th as an Airlift Squadron. On 1 June of that year, Military Airlift Command was inactivated as part of the Air Force restructuring after the end of the Cold War. Air Mobility Command (AMC) initially became the gaining major command for the 179th, although on 1 October 1993, it was moved to Air Combat Command (ACC) along with the other C-130 units.
With the Air National Guard in the post-Cold War era providing nearly 50% of the USAF’s tactical airlift capability, the 179th Airlift Group supported combat and humanitarian operations and exercises around the world, beginning in July 1992 as part of Operation Provide Promise; a humanitarian relief operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav War. Ongoing until 1996 airlift units delivered food, medicine, and supplies and evacuating over 1,300 wounded people from the region. It the longest running humanitarian airlift in history.
In late 1992, the 179th began airlifting personnel, equipment and supplies to Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope. The Air Force enlisted Air National Guard units being charged with carrying out United Nations Security Council Resolution 794: to create a protected environment for conducting humanitarian operations in the southern half of Somalia.
The 1709h was also engaged in Operation Uphold Democracy (19 September 1994 – 31 March 1995) providing airlift support to United States military forces in Hati during its military intervention designed to remove the military regime installed by the 1991 Haitian coup d'état that overthrew the elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
On 11 October 1995, in accordance with the Air Force One Base-One Wing directive, the 179th Airlift Group was expanded and changed in status to the 179th Airlift Wing. Under the Objective Wing organization, the 164th Airlift Squadron was assigned to the 179th Operations Group. Support groups to the wing were the 179th Maintenance Group, 179th Mission Support Group and the 179th Medical Group.
In mid-1996, the Air Force, in response to budget cuts, and changing world situations, began experimenting with Air Expeditionary organizations. The Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) concept was developed that would mix Active-Duty, Reserve and Air National Guard elements into a combined force. Instead of entire permanent units deploying as "Provisional" as in the 1991 Gulf War, Expeditionary units are composed of "aviation packages" from several wings, including active-duty Air Force, the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard, would be married together to carry out the assigned deployment rotation.
In December 1996, the 164th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (164th EAS) was first formed from 179th personnel and aircraft and deployed to Pisa Airport, Italy in support of Operation Joint Guard. It assisted in providing logistical support to NATO-led multinational peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina which was tasked with upholding the Dayton Peace Agreement. This ongoing commitment continued until 1998. Other Air Expeditionary Force deployments in the late 1990s included Operation Joint Endeavor, Operation Joint Forge and Operation Shining Hope, all addressing the Yugoslavian crises of the era.
After September 11
After the events of 11 September 2001 the 164th EAS has been activated on several occasions, initially providing logistic support for Air Force fighter squadrons engaged in Combat Air Patrols over major cities during Operation Noble Eagle in late 2001 and 2002. The EAS has seen duty in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraq as part of Operation Iraqui Freedom.
Pursuant to 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Mansfield-Lahm Municipal Airport Air National Guard Station, Ohio. The 179th Airlift Squadron would distribute its eight C-130H aircraft to the Air Force Reserve Command's 908th Airlift Wing at Maxwell AFB, Alabama (four aircraft), and the active duty Air Force's 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas (four aircraft). Flying-related Expeditionary Combat Support (ECS) would moves to the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Airlift Wing at Louisville Air National Guard Base, Kentucky (aerial port) and the Ohio Air National Guard's 180th Fighter Wing at Toledo Express Airport, Ohio (fire fighters). However, due to the base's superior record and recommendations for reconsideration by state and local officials, the base was incorporated into the Ohio Air National Guard's future by receiving a bridge mission of flying a C-21 Learjet mission until it became operational in the C-27J Spartan.
On July 20, 2008, the 179 AW continued its growth by the standing up of the 200th Red Horse (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers) detachment. The Mansfield base has been assigned with 200 Red Horse personnel and another 200 will be assigned to Port Clinton. A new building across the airfield is to be constructed to house the detachment with an approximated completion in 2010.
The 179th AW, along with the 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard, was the first unit to train and deploy the C-27J Spartan in 2010. Airmen from the 179th Airlift Wing made Air National Guard history July 26, 2011, by deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom for the first time with the C-27J Spartan, one of the Air Force's newest aircraft. This joint mission is being conducted with aircrew from the 164th Airlift Squadron, a subordinate unit of the 179th Airlift Wing, and Soldiers from the Oklahoma and Georgia National Guard. They will be working in conjunction with the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in direct support of the Army for airlift and airdrop operations. The 179th AW made history with a nine-month overseas rotation, as opposed to the typical four-to-six-month Air National Guard deployment schedule. Due to budget constrained force structure changes within the Air Force eliminating all C-27s, the 179 AW's C-27s were retired and the 179th began transitioning back to the C-130 in May 2013.
- Designated: 179th Tactical Fighter Group, and allotted to Ohio ANG, in 1962
- Extended federal recognition on 15 October 1962
- Re-designated: 179th Tactical Airlift Group, 5 January 1976
- Re-designated: 179th Airlift Group, 15 Mar 1992
- Status changed from Group to Wing, 11 October 1995
- Re-designated: 179th Airlift Wing, 11 October 1995
- 121st Tactical Fighter Wing, 15 October 1962
- 121st Air Refueling Wing, 16 January 1993
- Ohio Air National Guard, 11 October 1995
- 179th Operations Group, 11 October 1995 – Present
- 164th Tactical Fighter (Tactical Airlift, Airlift) Squadron, 15 October 1962 – Present
- Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport, Ohio, 15 October 1962
- Designated: Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base, 1991-Present
- Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
- Outstanding Ohio Air National Guard Unit
- Outstanding Air National Guard Airlift/Tanker unit
- Maj Gen John T. Pesch Flight Safety Award
- Air National Guard Comptroller Organization of the Year
- MAC Outstanding Intelligence Branch of the Year
- Air National Guard Maintenance Effectiveness Award
- First runner-up 21AF Outstanding Reserve Forces Unit
- Air Force Personnel Center Awards Search (Post-1991) Archived 2 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.