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178th Wing Hosts Community Day

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  • By Story and Photos by Tech. Sgt. Shane Hughes

The Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Wing hosted its first community day in two years today at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport.

The event featured hands-on displays of the wide-reaching missions at the wing, from remotely piloted aircraft and cyber intelligence; to swift water rescue and natural disaster response, and much more.

“This event is extremely important to building relationships with our local community,” said Lt. Col. Michel Weitz, Deputy Mission Support Group Commander. “We have so much to offer with respect to emergency management, urban search and rescue, swift water rescue, joint training with police departments. A large part of our community doesn’t know how we can support them.”

More than 50 representatives from different community partners and organizations attended the event, including local police and fire departments, state and local government, regional food banks, and universities.

The event fostered and enhanced understanding of the capabilities and support the wing and the National Guard can provide to local communities.

“It’s a lot of fun to, to talk to the civilian community, and show them what we do,” said retired Col. Arthur Huber II, deputy director of airspace and cyber operations at Air Force Material Command. “Their view of the military may be what they see on TV or what they see when attending an air show, but they don't always get to come in and actually talk to the people at length about how you do your mission, why it's important, and how they can actually be a part of it as the community.”

Elaine Bryant, executive vice president for aerospace and defense at the Dayton Development Coalition, agreed.

“The mission that’s carried out by Springfield Air National Guard Base is critical to national security and the support from the community to the men and women who carry out that mission is a key part of their success,” Bryant said. “In addition to serving our nation, these Airmen also serve in communities. They work in our companies, our schools, our charities; so having that community support is critical to to the livelihood of the base and the mission and the men and women who serve.”

The event helped enhance relationships with existing community organizations and build new ones.

“This is a great opportunity for community members to connect and understand the details of the different missions here,” said Pamela Rigling, senior business advisor for The Greentree Group. “To be here and get to talk with people, to understand the capabilities and the expertise, that will always improve relationships and lead to community support.”