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171st Air Refueling Wing Supports 46th Presidential Inauguration

Coraopolis Pa. --

The 171st Air Refueling Wing supported the inauguration of President Joe Biden from Pennsylvania and in Washington, D.C., January 2021.

Airmen provided incident management support, food service support and ground transportation as part of combined national efforts for the inauguration.

“From exercising ATSO drills on base to refueling aircraft Southwest Asia, the 171st Air Refueling Wing respond to a full spectrum of operations. We stand ready to support at home and abroad anywhere, at any time,” said Col. Mark Goodwill, commander of the 171 ARW. “We are honored to have been called upon in support of the president’s inauguration.”

The Mobile Emergency Operation Center the 171st utilized throughout the inauguration is one of 15 in guard units throughout the country. The MEOC serves as a hub for cross-service, command and control communication synchronization. The 171st connected with five other MEOCs that were directly in the Washington, D.C. area for real-time updates. They also took the Army's communication network and were easily able to plug into the 171st MEOC for a seamless communication network. Staff Sgt. Phillip Kapelewski along with Staff Sgt. Connor McKenzie, emergency managers at the 171st, brought these capabilities to the HRF.

“As events escalate, more communication and coordination is needed. We need to make sure our resources readily available to be utilized and able to support ongoing operations to help the needs of civilian entities,” said Kapelewski.

In addition to the incident management support the 171st provided, other guardsmen provided food service support. Members of the Force Support Squadron deployed with field kitchens on short notice as a contingency plan for food services of all guardsmen supporting the inauguration. These guardsmen coordinated the pickup and delivery of contracted meals distributing 200-1,200 meals daily from central distribution points for soldiers and airmen assigned to different locations.

Other guardsmen were assigned to Andrews Air Force Base. Vehicle operators from the Logistics Readiness Squadron supported ground transportation efforts there. These guardsmen were essential in supporting transportation of personnel and equipment.

No matter the situation or type of support needed, the 171st continues its tradition of remaining ready to support the nation at a moment’s notice.