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178 FW travels south for winter

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tina Maddock
  • 178 FW, Public Affairs
Approximately 325 members of the 178th Fighter Wing deployed to Gulfport Combat Training Readiness Center, Miss., between Jan. 30 and Feb. 20 to accomplish training.
"We come here to complete student training for the Dutch and U.S. students we have because the weather back home usually doesn't allow for the flying," said Lt. Col. George Smith, the 178th Operations Group commander. "We leave every January or February to either Tucson, Gulfport or Savannah to get student training done," said Colonel Smith.
The winter weather in Ohio during January and February can, and usually does, prevent the jets from flying.
"The students are on timelines where they need to complete their training," said Colonel Smith.
"We lost two days of flying because of the weather here and I venture to say that we would've lost almost every day due to weather back home," Colonel Smith.
In addition to their Springfield-based students, the Netherlands also flew some of their operational pilots and two Dutch stunt pilots to the training site to use their Dutch F-16 Fighting Falcons during the deployment.
While the majority of the 325 Guardsmen who deployed to Gulfport CRTC are not pilots, all of them are needed to support the flying mission.
For 178th Guardsmen there is more to take away from deployments than training.
Senior Master Sgt. Marcus Bosch, deployment NCO in charge, said wing trips such as this one give people who don't normally work with each other the opportunity to get out and meet other people in the wing.
For Colonel Smith, what he likes best about these trips is the camaraderie with fellow 178th servicemembers, he said.
At the end of the deployment, senior-enlisted members and officers organized a get-together in honor of all the work that went into the deployment.