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178 SFS supports Operation New Dawn

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tina Maddock
  • 178 FW/PA
    Approximately 40 members of the 178th Security Forces Squadron from Springfield Air National Guard Base, Ohio, deployed to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn in January.

     The Airmen are providing force protection to all personnel at their deployed location, said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Stewart, the 178th Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadron manager.

     "I feel very good about going to Iraq to help," said Staff Sgt. Jake McKinnon, 178 SFS member. Sergeant McKinnon has been with the 178th Fighter Wing for five years, and this is his first deployment.

     Before the Airmen deployed to Iraq, they received a month of training at the 178 FW that led up to "Desert Defender" training at Fort Bliss, Texas. The Air National Guard's 204th Security Forces Squadron operates "Desert Defender" at the Air Force Regional Training Center, which prepares active-duty, Guard and Reserve security forces for area security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

     During the training, which lasts about two weeks, the instructors at Fort Bliss shared a great deal of information and experience with the 178 SFS deploying Airmen, said Sergeant McKinnon. He said some of the training included clearing buildings, counter sniper procedures, convoy movements and other tactics to prepare the servicemembers for deployment.

     "They are definitely prepared and ready to perform the mission they are assigned to do," said Chief Master Sgt. Stewart.

     Sergeant McKinnon said, "The training we all (178 SFS members) endured, pulled us together... like a family, if you want to call it that."

     The 178 SFS members will be deployed to Iraq for six to eight months.

     "The Airmen's morale is high," said Chief Master Sgt. Stewart. "They are ready to get in there and get the job done."

     The deployed servicemembers leave behind families and friends, but bring with them to Iraq a new beginning.

(Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith of the National Guard Bureau contributed to this report.)