Ohio National Guard News


Ohio air controllers celebrate multiple achievements in 2014

By Staff Sgt. George B. Davis, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force 123rd Air Control Squadron’s simulated deployed environment is shown May 5, 2014, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., during exercise Emerald Warrior 2014. Emerald Warrior is a U.S. Special Operations Command-sponsored joint/combined tactical exercise designed to provide realistic military training in an urban setting. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

Airman 1st Class Donald Hawkins (left) and Tech Sgt. Bradley Patrick conduct repairs on communications equipment May 1, 2014. (Ohio National Guard photo)

Members of the 123rd Air Control Squadron work to erect a shelter that will serve as their communications center. (Ohio National Guard photo)

A radar technician adjusts his radar screen while monitoring aircraft May 5, 2014 during exercise Emerald Warrior 2014.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee)

Lt. Col. Steven Breitfelder (right), commander of the 123rd Air Control Squadron, receives the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award from Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman, Ohio assistant adjutant general for Air, Dec. 6, 2014, at Blue Ash Air National Guard Station, in Blue Ash, Ohio. The unit received the award for key roles in Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle, participating in multiple joint exercises and volunteering in the local community.
(Master Sgt. Seth Skidmore, ONG)

BLUE ASH, Ohio (01/05/15) — This winter the 123rd Air Control Squadron was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit award for its key roles in Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle, community volunteer involvement and participation in multiple joint training exercises.

It was just the latest accomplishment for an Ohio Air National Guard unit that had a noteworthy year in 2014.

This spring, the 123rd ACS conducted annual training at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Unit Airmen participated in Emerald Warrior 2014, an Air Force Special Operations Forces (SOF) exercise, where they controlled a host of aircraft in various types of scenarios in support the SOF troops on the ground. The 123rd’s participation in the exercise was the most recent demonstration of the unit’s expertise in the area of electronic battlefield communications.

"The 123rd Air Control Squadron is a command and reporting center (CRC) responsible for providing tactical command and control and battle management," said Lt. Col. Steven A. Breitfelder, commander of the 123rd ACS.

The 123rd provided various types of communications, to include UHF, VHF and satellite capabilities, along with operating various data links, which provided the exercise participants with a common operational picture (COP), Breitfelder said.

In partnership with an active-duty Marine Corps Direct Air Support Center, the 123rd controlled aircraft flying in the Eglin joint operations area during the exercise. It was valuable experience for the Ohio Airmen to be controlling A-10s, B-52s, MC/AC-130 gunships, various types of rotary wing aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles in close air support, air drops and surveillance missions.

"Emerald Warrior is a complex air-centric exercise that brings together Air Force conventional and Special Operations Forces, along with our sister services and those of our partner nations, to provide the most realistic and integrated warfare experience, short of actual combat," said Col. Bruce Taylor, Emerald Warrior exercise director. "The 123rd Air Control Squadron played a vital role supporting our troops on the ground during the exercise."

For the three-week exercise, the 123rd deployed to Eglin AFB from the northeast Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash, traveling over 900 miles in two convoys totaling 17 tactical vehicles and four commercial trucks, carrying more than $31 million in critical equipment, with no major incident.

"The extraordinary level of competence and expertise provided by our joint, (Air National) Guard partners enables us to deploy and control Special Operations Forces at a moment’s notice, anywhere across the globe," Taylor said.

Emerald Warrior was only the most recent example of the excellence in communications services provided by 123rd ACS. With a recent history of many such successful operations, both during training exercises and real-world missions overseas, this unit is now formally recognized as “outstanding” among all like units in the Air Force.