179th Deploys to Middle East

  • Published
  • By Story by Master Sgt. Joseph Harwood
  • 179th Airlift Wing

MANSFIELD, Ohio – Approximately 150 members of the Ohio Air National
Guard’s 179th Airlift Wing (AW) recently departed for a deployment to the Middle East
in support of Operation Spartan Shield. A majority of the members are from the 164th
Airlift Squadron and 179th Maintenance Group. They will be flying and maintaining the
C-130H aircraft as part of intra-theater operations across the area of responsibility.

Members of the 179th Airlift Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, will be the lead unit and
augmented by active duty and reserve members in their forward deployed environments.
The primary mission for members of the 179th AW will be to provide direct support to the
combatant commander.

179th AW Commander, Col. Todd K. Thomas said, "Our Airmen are combat
tested and prepared to provide a high level of tactical air-land and airdrop capabilities to
the deployed commander 24/7.” Thomas added, “This past year has presented a
unique and difficult set of circumstances to navigate and prepare for this but our Airmen
have stepped up to serve and we're extremely proud of their commitment."

Due to COVID-19 mitigation measures, deploying members left in smaller
groups on separate aircraft spanned out over several days. Each group was COVID-19
tested and restricted of unnecessary public movements leading up to their departure to
mitigate any possible spread.

Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general, was joined by Maj. Gen.
James R. Camp, assistant Ohio adjutant general for Air, and Command Chief Master
Sgt. Heidi A. Bunker, state command chief, in seeing the groups off. All members are
expected to return by early fall 2021.

Harris said, “Good luck on your mission. God bless you. I don’t exaggerate
when I say that you’re in my family’s prayers every single night.”