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Operation Guide Wire Broadens 178th Airmen’s Skills

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Constantine Bambakidis,
  • 178th Wing

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Airmen from the 178th Mission Support Group worked with 123d Air Control Squadron members 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.

Operation Guide Wire was a multi-day joint training exercise to enable Airmen to fill roles outside 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 underwent expedited pre-deployment processing. On April 4, they flew on a 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 have 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 began with the processing of paperwork and documentation for all deploying Airmen. 

“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 the 1st Battalion, 137th Aviation Regiment, transported Airmen to a landing zone on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Airmen disembarked and immediately secured the area, preparing the environment for the multi-day exercise. 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. “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 alongside Airmen and Soldiers from various 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.”