The Department of the Air Force announced yesterday it has identified Ohio’s Mansfield-Lahm Air National Guard Base as the preferred location for a new Cyber Warfare Wing mission. The transformation will support Air Combat Command’s future requirements and result in operational mission changes, including an increase of approximately 175 Airmen and associated infrastructure support. To advance the new cyber mission at Mansfield-Lahm ANG Base, the Air Force is looking to retire eight C-130H Hercules from its aging inventory at the 179th Airlift Wing as part of its fiscal year 2022 budget proposal.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine applauded the U.S. Air Force’s announcement in a press release from his office last night, “I spoke directly with the Secretary of the Air Force today who gave me this outstanding news,” said Governor DeWine. “Ohio is gaining a leading-edge mission that will strengthen the fabric of the military community and further solidify Ohio as a national leader in cybersecurity excellence. Not only will this new mission bring more jobs into the community, but it will also spur more economic growth and create new opportunities for industry and academic growth.”
The additional 175 positions coming to the Mansfield ANGB are STEM and IT focused, bolstering Ohio’s efforts to gain a competitive advantage in the workforce by attracting in-demand cybersecurity jobs. Ohio was one of two locations under consideration, with the other being the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Minnesota. Among the criteria considered in the decision were manpower, recruiting, and retention; building capacity and connectivity; environmental; construction costs; and cost of living.
The announcement from the SECAF yesterday, selecting the 179th Airlift Wing as the first Air National Guard Cyberspace Wing, sets the stage for the journey towards a mission capable cyber wing. This is an opportunity for Mansfield, it is important to acknowledge the difficult transition it is for the passionate aviation community that helped shape the heritage and culture of this community. The community has supported the airlift mission for generations, dating back to their transition from fighter aircraft to the C-130B model in the 1970’s.
The 179th Airlift Wing (179 AW) is a unit of the Ohio Air National Guard, stationed at Mansfield Lahm Air National Guard Base, Mansfield, Ohio. If activated to federal service with the United States Air Force, the Wing is gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC). The 179th utilizes the C-130H Hercules to provide direct airlift support to the United States Army and ancillary airlift support to other branches of the U.S. armed forces. The primary mission of the unit is to deliver time sensitive/mission critical supplies the “last tactical mile”, as well as to provide airlift capabilities in support of homeland defense operations.