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123rd ACS realigns with the 178th Wing

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  • By Story by Staff Sgt. Amber Mullen

This month, the 123rd Air Control Squadron realigned with the 178th Wing. Previously a tenant unit, the 123rd ACS became a squadron of the 178th Wing and now falls under the Wing’s command structure.

The 123rd ACS was established in 1946 at the Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the past 70 years, their mission has remained largely unchanged. The mission of the 123rd ACS is to provide command and control capabilities to assist ground forces commanders in control of regional airspace. The capabilities they provide allow the commanders to direct joint service aircraft and assists in planning, requesting, coordinating and controlling close air operations, intelligence gathering and airlift.

“The 123rd ACS is fully equipped to drop into a bare base and set up to provide air control to a combat environment,” said Col. Kimberly A. Fitzgerald, the commander of the 178th Wing. “Besides the controllers, they have every training and specialty they need to sustain themselves such as food services, security, transportation, logistics, technical radar operators and maintenance. On a more complex level, they direct defensive and offensive air missions and can be tasked to direct air defense and airspace management activities. They provide an integrated air picture and theater missile defense warning to combatant commanders.”

Before the realignment, the Wing provided support to the 123rd ACS through providing the unit with funding, promotions, and manning. The 123rd ACS’s chain of command was through State Headquarters and they did not fall under one of the four Wings in the Ohio National Guard.

“In the future now, all of the support we provide for them will remain the same,” said Fitzgerald. “We will still support them and now the chain of command will come through us as well.”

The decision to realign the unit with the 178th Wing was a strategic move. With the Space Force National Guard looming on the horizon, the 178th Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Group may transition to the new service. With that transition, the Wing would not have enough people to maintain its status as a Wing. Realigning the 123rd ACS will give the Wing enough personnel to remain a Wing in the case of the 178th ISRG transitioning to the Space Force National Guard.

Although this realignment has great benefits to the Wing and the Ohio National Guard, it is also extremely beneficial to the Airmen of 123rd ACS.

“The benefits of the realignment are for the people of the 123rd ACS, I think,” said Fitzgerald. “Now the Airmen get to compete for Wing level awards. They also get to compete for stratifications on their performance reports which will help when they are trying to get development opportunities.”

The realignment also provides the 123rd ACS with a Wing Commander who can advocate for their Airmen and mission at the National level.

“We go to the Guard Bureau often and we talk about missions here at the 178th Wing,” said Fitzgerald. “In the past, we didn’t talk about the 123rd ACS [at the Bureau] because they were not in our chain of command. Now going forward, we’ll be advocating for them.”

The 178th Wing not only gains a unit and their mission capabilities, but the Wing gains nearly 200 Airmen to immerse into the Saber family.

“We are happy to officially invite the 123rd ACS team into the 178th Wing Saber family,” said Fitzgerald. “It seems like un-officially it has always been the case so we are glad it is finally formalized.”