An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Sept. 17, 2021

179th AW to host 1st Air National Guard cyberspace wing

By Master Sgt. Joseph Harwood, 179th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

MANSFIELD, Ohio – Mansfield-Lahm Air National Guard Base is the preferred location for the first Air National Guard cyberspace wing in the country.

The Department of the Air Force announced the selection of the Ohio base on Aug. 25. 

The transformation will support Air Combat Command's future requirements and result in operational mission changes, including an increase of about 175 Airmen and associated infrastructure support at the base.

To advance the new cyberspace 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.

"Retiring these legacy aircraft will create the fiscal and manpower flexibility required to design and field the future force needed to meet national defense requirements," said Lt. Gen. David Nahom, U.S. Air Force Plans and Programs deputy chief of staff.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine applauded the Air Force's announcement.

"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," DeWine said in a news release. "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. This is a tremendous win for Mansfield and for the entire state."

Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., Ohio adjutant general, said the selection of the Ohio base would build on the 179th Airlift Wing's legacy of excellence.

"The transition to a cyber wing places the Ohio National Guard at the forefront of leveraging cutting-edge technologies and capabilities for national defense and mitigating emerging threats," Harris said.

Ohio and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were the two locations considered for the cyberspace wing. Among the criteria weighed in the decision were manpower, recruiting and retention; building capacity and connectivity; environmental; construction costs; and cost of living.

Col. Todd Thomas, 179th AW commander, announced the selection to the unit members and said he is confident they are up to the task.

"(It) sets the stage for the journey towards a mission-capable cyber wing. I have high expectations for this new capability and see this as a long-term win for the wing, Mansfield, Ohio, and the nation," Thomas said.

Thomas acknowledged that while he believes this is an opportunity for Mansfield, it is important to acknowledge it will be a difficult transition for the passionate aviation community that helped shape the heritage and culture of the base and surrounding area. The community has supported the airlift mission for generations, dating back to the unit's transition from fighter aircraft to the C-130B model in the 1970s.

"Since becoming the wing commander, I have always told our Airmen we must do everything in our ability to 'keep the front gate open' and flex to whatever mission allows us to be viable well into the future and aligns with the National Defense Strategy," Thomas said. "I am extremely confident (that) our Airmen are capable of shifting focus from tactical air-land and air-drop operations to the cyber battlefield. I look forward to what our Airmen will bring to the cyber fight."

Thomas said wing leadership will help Airmen in aviation-based career fields transition into new roles, whether they stay with the new cyberspace mission or seek other positions across the Air Force.

"The Airmen of the 179th Airlift Wing are confident, resilient and well-suited for whatever the task or mission that comes our way — today and tomorrow," Thomas said. "It's the Mansfield way."



Related Articles
The 179th Airlift Wing, an Ohio Air National Guard unit, is redesignated as the 179th Cyberspace Wing during a ceremony held Sept. 9, 2023, at Mansfield-Lahm Air National Guard Base, Mansfield, Ohio. The redesignation is historically significant as the first Air National Guard base in the nation to become a cyberspace wing. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech Sgt. Alexis Wade)
179th Airlift Wing Becomes First Cyberspace Wing in the Air National Guard
By Tech. Sgt. Alexis Wade, | Sept. 13, 2023
MANSFIELD, Ohio – The 179th Airlift Wing cemented its place in history during a redesignation ceremony renaming the unit as the 179th Cyberspace Wing following two years of preparation on Sept. 9. This redesignation marks a...

Senior Master Sgt. Nick Wirwille, superintendent of the Cyber Systems Operations shop with the 179th Airlift Wing Communications Squadron, Mansfield, Ohio, works on a computer Oct. 6, 2019. Cyber Systems Operations specialists design, install and support systems to ensure they operate properly and remain secure from outside intrusion.
179th Airlift Wing recognizes Cybersecurity Awareness Month
By Airman 1st Class Alexis Wade | Oct. 10, 2019
MANFIELD, Ohio – Cybercrimes, intrusions and scams are increasing, requiring increased vigilance to protect networks and safeguard cybersecurity.Senior Master Sgt. Nick Wirwille, supervisor of the Cyber Systems Operations...

Staff Sgt. Carolyn Kinzel, C-130 Loadmaster assigned to the 164th Airlift Squadron and Ohio Air National Guard Counterdrug Task Force criminal analyst, in front of an overdose map she created Aug. 1, 2019, at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Cleveland. The Ohio National Guard Counterdrug Task Force supports law enforcement and community organizations to help counter the drug threat.
Ohio Airman helps combat opioid epidemic
By Airman 1st Class Alexis Wade | Oct. 8, 2019
MANSFIELD, Ohio – Staff Sgt. Carolyn Kinzel, a C-130H Hercules loadmaster assigned to the 179th Airlift Wing, is helping combat the opioid epidemic in Ohio. Kinzel joined the 179th Airlift Wing in 2015 and graduated from Ohio...