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Operation Guide Wire Broadens 178th Airmen’s Skillsets

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  • By Staff Sgt. Constantine Bambakidis

Airmen from the 178th Mission Support Group worked together with members of the 123d Air Control Squadron and soldiers from 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment during Operation Guide Wire, an Agile Combat Employment exercise, at Springfield-Beckley Air National Guard Base and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio on Friday.

Operation Guide Wire was a multi-day joint training exercise aimed at enabling airmen to fill roles outside of their standard career field, emphasizing the multi-capable aspect of the U.S. Air Force. During the exercise, airmen from the 178th Civil Engineering Squadron, Mission Support Group, and Base Defense Squadron went through expedited pre-deployment processing and were transported via UH-60 Black Hawk to a simulated forward operating base.

“Not only will airmen be able to perform their core functions, they’re also going to be able to learn and train with other units, and train as they train. We have air movement with helicopters from the Army National Guard. We two different convoys coming in from different locations,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Howard, lead planner for the exercise. “We have Civil Air Patrol partners, we have USAFSAM (U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine) from WPAFB coming out to help us, as well as the medical group and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) group internal to the wing.”

The exercise kicked off with a pre-deployment function line, where the necessary paperwork and documentation for all deploying airmen is processed at once. Each deploying airman can speak with the chaplain, legal office, and verify all their medical and personal information is up to date before they depart. All the exercise participants across the different career fields went through the PDF line.

“It goes back to being a multi-capable airman. In case, for example, security forces isn’t there,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Andrew Magill, a participant from the 178th Force Support Squadron, “I think it’s very important that we can do each other’s jobs and fill someone else’s role if needed.”

After pre-deployment requirements were verified, a UH-60 Black Hawk from 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment transported airmen to a landing zone on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Airmen disembarked the aircraft and immediately secured the area, preparing the environment for multi-day exercise operations. Teams composed of airmen across multiple career fields worked together to establish a tactical operations center and respond to simulated opposing forces.

“My favorite part of the exercise is the camaraderie […] we make it fun” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Darwis Urena, a firefighter with the 178th Civil Engineering Squadron who participated in the exercise. “We try to look at the upside of everything and enjoy the relationship that we have together.”

Exercises like Operation Guide Wire maintain the readiness of the 178th Wing and ensure the capability of 178th airmen to fill different roles in deployed environments. Realistic training helps prepare the wing to respond to any situation at any time, alongside airmen and soldiers from different career fields.

“Anything can happen at any time,” Magill said. “If that time does come, we are prepared, and we can get the mission done.”