The 258th Air Traffic Control Squadron is a geographically separated unit of the 171st ARW, and is located at the John P. Murtha Cambria County Airport in Johnstown Pennsylvania. Although the 258th only has 80 members, its mission is integral to the successful and safe operations of USAF, DOD, and allied aircraft at CONUS and OCONUS airfields.
The 258th Air Traffic Control Squadron (ATCS) has a remarkable and unique history. Established as the 114th Tactical Control Flight in May, 1982, it wasn’t long until it was reassigned its present day mission as an Air Traffic Control Flight in October, 1985. Twelve years later, the unit would again be re-designated; this time as the 258th ATCS in May, 1997. With the new unit designation came a new home and the 258th ATCS relocated from State College, Pa. to Johnstown, Pa. Shortly after relocating, the 258th ATCS also changed command from the 193rd Special Operations Wing in Harrisburg to the present day 171st Air Refueling Wing (ARW) in Pittsburgh.
Although still part of the 171st ARW, the 258th ATCS is considered a geographically separated unit stationed at the John P. Murtha Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pa. With roughly 85 military and civilian members, the unit consists of air traffic controllers, maintainers, and commander support staff. The 258th ATCS serves an essential mission by providing air traffic services stateside and overseas to civil, military, and even presidential aircraft while also maintaining mobile readiness to deploy with less than a week notice. Part of that preparedness lies with the maintenance personnel constantly servicing the MPN-14K (mobile radar), MSN-7 (mobile tower), and other ATC equipment.
The 258th ATCS has always endeavored to lead the way. In 1992, the 258th ATCS (then the 114th TCF) was selected as the first unit in the Air Force to deploy the MPN-14K in support of a drug interdiction mission in Columbia. For the member’s accomplishments, the unit was named the Combat Communications Unit of the Year. The unit continued to outperform the very following year by earning the Air National Guard Air Traffic Control Unit of the Year award; while simultaneously setting the benchmark during an operational readiness inspection for the setup, operation, and passing of a flight check faster than any other unit in the Air Force.
More recently, the 258th was awarded the “Air Traffic Controller of the Year 2019” for the National Guard. Along with the success of individual Guardsmen, the 258th ATCS received a group merit when being awarded the D. Ray Hardin USAF Air Traffic Control Facility of the year in 2019. Additionally the 258th ATCS was awarded the Meritorious Unit Award in 2020 for its involvement in Operation Inherent Resolve and had a member win Air Traffic Control Manager of the Year. Some additional awards won are: 2012 Chairman Award for RAPCON of the Year, 2011 Lifecycle Management Award, 2005 Brigadier General John E. Nolan Outstanding Unit Award, and the 2019 Airfield Operations Award Lima Site 85.
The accomplishments of the 258 ATCS are unparalleled. Participating in numerous operations including Rapid Guardian, Night Stalker, Joint Endeavor, Sentry Vigilance, Fuertes Caminos, Global Yankee, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Jumpstart, Restoring Hope, Exercise Emerald Warrior and Inherent Resolve. Hundreds of Airmen from the 258 ATCS surpassed thousands of combined days deployed stateside and overseas, showing a sense of honor and duty to provide exceptional air traffic services and equipment on a global scale day in and day out, warranting its motto, victory over darkness.
The 258th ATCS continues to operate in Johnstown, Pa. If you’re interested in a tour, or have any questions about the 258th ATCS or the Air National Guard and the benefits of being a member, please contact our Recruiting Office at: 412-776-7636