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Moody unit consolidates to support battlefield Airmen

by Capt. Dustin Hart
23rd Wing Public Affairs

12/7/2007 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFPN) -- Members of the 93rd Air Ground Operations Wing here will bring a new level of support to Airmen who specialize in ground-combat missions by consolidating units starting in January.

The 93rd AGOW officials will consolidate the tactical air control party and battlefield weather specialties of the 3rd Air Support Operations Group at Fort Hood, Texas, the 18th ASOG at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., and the specialized force protection capabilities of the 820th Security Forces Group at Moody AFB and provide them with a single command and control structure.

Due to their specialized nature and, in several cases, co-location with Army units, these groups have traditionally reported directly to their respective numbered Air Force. 

"A centralized command organization; however, will allow for the standardization of their training and employment," said Brig. Gen. Michael A. Longoria, the Det. 5 commander who is responsible for establishing logistical needs of the wing.

"These (units) have been given great support by their respective NAF commanders," he said. "That is why we have been able to continually improve our combat capability. It is time; however, to take another step in that improvement and give our great air-ground experts in the Air Force a command structure by which they can stay in this business."

The general said the new unit will also allow Airmen to hone their combat specialties while giving them the command oversight that will take care of the "organize, train and equip" tasks they have.

In addition to providing a single command structure, the activation of the 93rd AGOW also highlights the similarities that exist between the individual units' missions.

"In Iraq, fighting right alongside our security forces Airmen are Army maneuver elements that are embedded with Air Force (tactical air control parties)," General Longoria said. "There is a natural relationship between 'fight-the-base' force protection and the TAC-P's 'terminal-attack' mission of being a liaison to and supporting the Army. We think it is going to be a good relationship that will actually increase our combat capability by bringing these two functions and tasks together."

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the subsequent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Air Force has seen an increasing demand placed on ground-combat capabilities.

"The Air Force recognizes the air-ground activity is terribly important and puts a priority on it," General Longoria said. "We take some of our best Airmen and assign them side by side with every Army maneuver division and brigade. The mission of this wing on the terminal-attack side is to support those TAC-P elements and enhance what they do both in war and peacetime."

The 820th SFG has also seen a continually high-operations tempo since the onset of the war on terrorism.

"There is not a time that the 820th SFG doesn't have a squadron or more deployed," he said. "The capability the unit has is amazing and we need to keep promoting and taking care of those great Airmen."

Being a constant source of support to the Airmen is the key to his wing's success, the general said.

"There will be little doubt that the Airmen and the combat capability that this wing produces is far 'outside the wire' and it's any place, any time and any where," he said. "These Airmen represent the best of the U.S. Air Force and bring air, space and cyberspace power to bear in combat alongside our sister services. I am very proud of them and my job is to take care of them."

While ensuring his Airmen are well taken care of, the general said they shouldn't worry about seeing the way they operate change.

"President Teddy Roosevelt said, 'The best executive is the one who has the sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done and self restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they are doing it,'" he said. "My guys wrote it down for me (on a going-away gift) so I would never forget it." 

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