Pennsylvania Guardsmen contribute to Global Deterrence mission
By Airman 1st Class Ryan Whitney, 36th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 22, 2008
November 16, 2008 -- ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Members of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard are playing an active role in supporting the Global Deterrence mission here since their arrival Oct. 27.
Airmen deployed from the 171st Air Refueling Wing and their KC-135 Stratton are here as support for the theater security package, refueling aircraft such as B-52 Stratofortresses that have a vital role in Andersen's Global Deterrence mission.
The 171st ARW also supports many exercises that are active throughout the Pacific, for instance the AnnulEx 20G, a bilateral exercise between U.S. and Japanese forces that takes place over the Pacific Nov. 12-14 and 17-19.
"We are here to support the bombers in the Theater Security Package, however we are the only Air Mobility Command asset, so we support whoever needs it," said Lt. Col. Ray Hyland, 171st ARW operations officer. "Last week we supported the [Navy] F-18s, and we will be escorting B-1Bs back their home in a few weeks."
The Airmen are deployed here until January, when one of their sister organizations will replace them. Although the Wing is deployed for 2 months, the time that each individual will spend on Guam varies depending on the job the person does.
"We are a pretty self-sustaining unit," said Hyland. "We have brought with us everyone that we could need, from communications and readiness personnel, to the pilots and boom operators, we even brought along our flight surgeon."
Most of these Airmen will only remain on Guam for two to three weeks before being replaced; while the pilots and boom operators will remain in theater for a week longer.
"We are an all volunteer force. The people here are normal civilians; firefighters, police officers, teachers, carpenters and so on. They are taking time out of their force to come here and serve their country," the colonel continued.
Although this is not the 171st ARW's first time here, it is the Air National Guard's first time that they have supported a full Air Expeditionary Force rotation. In the past it was a mixture of members from different units across the ANG that volunteered to come here.
When their time here comes to a close Jan. 1, 2009, the 171st ARW and their sister unit will swap deployment locations for the remainder of the AEF tour.