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178 FW gets Predator mission

  • Published
  • By Maj. Lindsay Logsdon
  • 178 FW/PA
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and Maj. Gen. Gregory Wayt, National Guard adjutant general for the State of Ohio spoke to 178th Fighter Wing unit members here May 10 regarding the two newly acquired unit missions.

The official message was received May 7 announcing the 178 FW would be assigned a remotely piloted aircraft MQ-1 Predator unit and an expansion of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center mission.

General Wayt thanked the Guardsmen in attendance for their hard work.
"Everything that you've done in the past has been recognized because of the missions you're going to get for the future," he said. "You are on the cutting edge of new missions coming into the Air National Guard."

In his introduction for Senator Brown, the general attributed the success of getting the new missions to a coalition of supporters.

"It truly has been a team effort. It's been our governor, our senator and our congressional delegation. It's been your community that's been behind you," said General Wayt.

The base will not be losing any of the 866 military authorizations. Those members who had previously worked jobs specific to the F-16 Fighting Falcon will be retrained to either the MQ-1 Predator mission or the NASIC mission. Retraining for those involved in the new missions will begin this summer.

"We now have these two missions that have a good long-term future for this community and for this part of the state and for the Air Force," said Senator Brown.

Senator Brown credited the success of the placement of the new missions here to the commitment and professionalism of people in Springfield and the men and women serving here.

"Thank you all for allowing me to work with you on this," said Senator Brown. "What you've done with General Wayt and Colonel Roberts has made a difference in making sure that we can continue to contribute to our National Defense out of Springfield Ohio."

The actual MQ-1 Predators will not be taking off or landing at the base, however the crews and support personnel will be stationed here.

"The Predator mission that we have will not include what's known as the launch and recovery element," said Col. Mike Roberts, commander 178 FW. "We will not have any Predator's physically located on the airfield, but we will have the equipment and the personnel to operate them remotely."

The 2005 Defense Base Realignment and Closure removed the F-16 flying training mission here. By the end of September all American aircraft will be relocated to other bases. The Dutch training mission here will also end in September and the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s will depart by the end of 2010.

"We will miss the airplanes. We've had a great mission and great success doing it," said Col. Roberts. Naturally we'll miss it but we'll get over it and we'll do just as well with the new RPA and NASIC mission as we've done in the F-16."