The Air Force’s top officer paid a visit earlier this month to the Ohio-based 179th Airlift Wing ahead of the unit’s historic transition to a cyberspace-focused mission.

Speaking with airmen during an April 2 roundtable at Mansfield-Lahm Air National Guard Base, Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown lauded the wing’s role in spearheading future cyberspace capabilities while calling the installation’s mission overhaul “important, not just for our force, but for our nation.”

“We are in the most dynamic environment we’ve ever faced, so we have to be engaged in change and I can’t think of a place in our Air Force facing more change than right here in Mansfield,” Brown said in a release.

The 179th Wing was selected by the service in August 2021 to become the Air National Guard’s first-ever cyberspace wing. Unit officials and personnel have been in the process of converting the wing from its previous mission under Air Mobility Command ever since.

Brown acknowledged that the transition to Air Combat Command has been a tall task, but cited leadership’s emphasis on collaboration as a means of anchoring the process.

“As [a]irmen, we all need to be multi-capable to get the mission done,” Brown said. “We do not play to lose. ... Cyber engagements happen daily. They are happening right now. ... Mansfield has a unique opportunity. What you are doing here hasn’t been done. You can write the playbook for others to follow. It’s important for us to engage here as you drive that change.”

As part of the transition to a cyberspace wing, the 179th Airlift Wing retired eight C-130H Hercules aircraft, the last of which left Mansfield-Lahm in July 2022.

The wing’s final C-130 was moved to North Canton, Ohio, where it will reside as a static display at the Military Aviation Preservation Society’s Air Museum.

Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.

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