Commentary and photo by Michelle McBride
Texas Military Department Public Affairs Office
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Members of the Texas Air National Guard welcomed distinguished visitors and community leaders to the 149th Fighter Wing, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 15, 2015.
The event was part of the Texas ANG’s annual “Air Day” to showcase and educate their civilian leaders on the organization’s state and federal capabilities.
“We are an integral part of all of the operations the U.S. military does all over the world,” said Maj. Gen. Kenneth W. Wisian, Deputy Adjutant General for Air and Commander of the Texas Air National Guard. “Texans are flying combat missions day in and day out.”
During the event, the attendees were able to interact with Texas ANG’s leadership as well as Citizen-Airmen assigned to their three air wings, which are located in Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.
The mission of the Fort Worth-based 136th Airlift Wing is to provide tactical air support, via the C-130 Hercules aircraft, at home and abroad. The unit currently has personnel and aircraft deployed overseas.
The 147th Reconnaissance Wing, based in Houston, operates the MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft to provide critical support for overseas contingency operations.
Additionally, the 149th Fighter Wing’s primary federal mission is to train combat-ready pilots – active duty, Guard and Reserve – to employ the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Attendees had the opportunity to view the F-16 up-close and view them take off for a training mission.
When activated by the Governor of Texas, the Air Wings have the ability to assist state and local officials respond to disaster relief and humanitarian aid missions with medical and other logistical support.
Another mission of the Texas Air National Guard includes protecting cyberspace. Texas Airmen from the 273rd Information Operations Squadron, based in San Antonio, were on-hand to highlight their unique partnership with the U.S. Air Force and the National Security Agency to protect the nation’s digital infrastructure.
The Texas Air National Guard leaders also pointed out the unique value they bring to the nation’s defense.
“Why do we need the National Guard? Because of our combat force and our tremendous value to the tax payer,” Wisian said. “We do everything the (Air Force) Reserve does, but also accomplish state missions.”