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    178th Wing welcomes first MQ-9 Reaper for exercise, Advanced Wrath

    178th Wing Celebrates Historic Landing

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Thomas Moeger | Airmen from the 178th Wing, 163rd Attack Wing and 248th Air Traffic Control Squadron...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. Elisabeth Gelhar 

    178th Wing

    SPRINGFIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ohio — Airmen from the 178th Wing successfully land the first MQ-9 Reaper at Springfield-Beckley Air National Guard Base, Tuesday.

    The MQ-9 Reaper is a Remotely Piloted Aircraft renowned for its broad capabilities in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

    In the days following this historic landing, members of the 178th Wing will conduct a series of detailed operations including Satellite Launch Recovery, auto-takeoff and landing of the MQ-9, complex aerial maneuvers, maintenance of the aircraft, and various other responsibilities associated with an aircraft mission at the base.

    These activities are part of Advanced Wrath, a collaborative training exercise bringing together the 178th Wing; the 163rd Attack Wing, California; the 248th Air Traffic Control Squadron, Mississippi; the Air Force Research Lab, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; and the Federal Aviation Administration.

    “Conducting MQ-9 operations out of Springfield Air National Guard base is a total wing and community effort,” said Lt. Col. Zachary Eaton, 178th Operations Support Squadron commander. “Especially to the 178th Operations Group… cyber operations, weather, intelligence, security management, aviation resource management, operations plans, and aerospace medicine.”

    Airmen assigned at the 178th are validating their ability to rapidly deploy, operate, and sustain MQ-9 operations via satellite launch and recovery, said Eaton.

    The successful operations of the MQ-9 reinforce the unit’s commitment to excellence in readiness and operational capabilities.

    “The 178th is now postured to provide multi-region FEMA support, domestic disaster and humanitarian response, and is able to serve as a research, development, and testing hub for current and future Air Force platforms,” said Eaton.

    The arrival of the MQ-9 to the wing marks the first military flight operation conducted at Springfield Air National Guard Base in over 13 years.

    Col. Paul Kavanaugh, commander of the 178th Operations Group stated there are multiple benefits for our airmen to operate the MQ-9 in local airspace.

    “We have to work closely with our Mission Support Group to ensure the safety of the operations with our organic firefighting airmen and security forces airmen,” said Kavanaugh. “Our logistics airmen are physically reacquainted with aircraft and are learning from the 163d ATKWG maintainers how to perform certain support functions for the aircraft. We all benefit from doing, our learning is in the execution.”

    Advanced Wrath not only maintains the readiness and relevance of the airmen in the 178th but also strengthens the relationships they've formed with other National Guard units across the country and local community partners. Kavanaugh said the relationships Springfield has established will continue to serve the Ohio Air National Guard, moving forward to future challenges and potential missions as needs may dictate.

    Since its transition to an intelligence and reconnaissance wing in 2010, the 178th has been deploying RPAs on missions abroad in 24-hour operations. However, the arrival of the MQ-9 at Springfield, even for a brief ten-day period, is considered a significant event.

    "Conducting operations overseas is important and validating work, but having a tangible aircraft on our own ramp is a new feeling entirely," said Eaton. "The most rewarding part has been seeing the involvement of the entire 178th Wing, and numerous community partners. Everyone has gotten behind this and the effort has paid off. It’s truly a win for the 178th Wing and Springfield community."

    This achievement underscores the unwavering dedication of the airmen to remain at the forefront of technological advancements and mission readiness, positioning the 178th Wing as a cornerstone of national defense and emergency response.

    “Flying the MQ-9 in the local area has been fantastic,” said Eaton. “Standing on the flight line with my family and seeing over one hundred members lining the ramp to watch the MQ-9 takeoff is a sight I’ll never forget.”



    Date Taken: 03.15.2024
    Date Posted: 03.15.2024 14:12
    Story ID: 466306

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