Pentagon: Wright-Patterson personnel on ‘heightened preparedness’

FILE

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FILE

Pentagon spokesman does not ID affected local unit.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base personnel are among the military members being placed on an elevated alert posture in response to concerns that Russia will execute a further incursion into Ukraine, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday.

The spokesman, John Kirby, declined to identify units placed on a heightened alert posture but he did mention Wright-Patterson as home to at least one affected unit.

ExplorePentagon puts 8,500 U.S. troops on higher alert in response to Russian moves

“We are not going to and we don’t intend to go into an exhaustive list of every unit that’s being placed on prepare-to-deploy orders,” Kirby said. “But I can say other units that will now have an increased readiness posture include elements from Fort Carson ... Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.; Fort Hood, Texas; Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Robbins Air Force Base, Georgia; Fort Stewart, Georgia; Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.”

“I’ve described the units to the level that we’re comfortable doing,” Kirby said later when asked for further details about affected units.

Kirby said two days ago there has been no final decision to deploy American troops to Eastern Europe in response to Russia’s positioning of about 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s northern and eastern borders. A total of about 8,500 U.S.-based troops were placed on a higher alert posture this week, being ordered to be ready to move out on an accelerated timeline if needed.

The situation around Ukraine is being “watched every single day,” Kirby also said, adding: “We still think there’s time and space for diplomacy. We think that’s the preferred path here.”

While Kirby did not name specific units, among the missions and units at Wright-Patterson is the 445th Airlift Wing, which played a role in the evacuation of Afghanistan last August. The wing has nine C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, planes touted as the “newest, most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force.”

The 445th has about 1,700 officers, enlisted and civilian personnel. Most of the members are traditional reservists, totaling 1,342 members, who serve in the military on a part-time basis, participating in drills and activities at least one weekend a month as well as two-weeks of annual training each year, a wing fact sheet says.

Augmenting the traditional reserve force is a team of 254 members employed full-time as Air Reserve Technicians in the unit, 23 active guard reserve members and 69 civilians.

Overall, Wright-Patterson is home to more than 30,000 military and civilian employees, many of whom now work remotely due to the pandemic. The base is the largest employer in Ohio in a single location.

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