Mansfield guard unit becomes first cyberspace wing Saturday

The 179th Airlift Wing will conduct a historic redesignation ceremony to officially become the 179th Cyberspace Wing Saturday, becoming the nation’s first cyberspace wing.

The event at the Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base will celebrate the 75-year aviation history of the wing while highlighting the importance of the new cyberspace mission, the Ohio adjutant general’s department said.

The ceremony will feature several speakers and include a traditional changing of the unit flag and guidon.

The 179th was selected to become the Air National Guard’s first-ever cyberspace wing in August 2021.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. visited with the wing in Mansfield in April.

“We are in the most dynamic environment we’ve ever faced so we have to be engaged in change, and I can’t think of a place in our Air Force facing more change than right here in Mansfield,” Brown said.

Credit: 179th Airlift Wing

Credit: 179th Airlift Wing

“The transition of this wing from an airlift wing to a cyberspace wing is great news for the state of Ohio and a model for the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said this week.

There are nearly 90 flying units in the Air National Guard but there is only one cyber unit, the state said.

“This transition solidifies Mansfield’s place at the tip of the spear in cyber operations vital to our national security and defense,” said Brig. Gen. David B. Johnson, Ohio assistant adjutant general for Air.

The wing was organized in Mansfield in 1948 as the 164th Fighter Squadron and has predecessor units that can be traced back to World War II.

In its 75-year aviation history, the wing has flown more than nine different airframes, deployed in support of every major contingency operation, participated in multiple humanitarian airlift efforts and responded to natural disaster relief taskings.

In 2021, the National Guard said the transformation would support Air Combat Command and result in an increase of about 175 Airmen and associated infrastructure at the Mansfield base.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio National Guard said roughly 1,000 Airmen serve on the Mansfield base. Approximately 20 members of the wing live in the Dayton area.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was another location considered for the cyberspace wing.

Also as part of the transition, the 179th Airlift Wing retired eight C-130H Hercules aircraft, retiring the last of them from the base in July 2022.

The wing’s final C-130 was moved to North Canton, Ohio, where it will be kept as a static display at the Military Aviation Preservation Society’s Air Museum, the Air Force Times said.

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