Aviano Air Base, Italy --
About 80 members from the Maryland Air National Guard conducted annual training at Aviano Air Base, Italy, from July 16-30 to work and train alongside their active duty counterparts at the 31st Fighter Wing.
175th Wing members from communications, force support, judge advocate, contracting, and public affairs worked at 16 different locations on base demonstrating the military and civilian skills they bring to the total force.
“It’s not just about getting the training that you need but also building relationships with the active-duty here on base, “ said U.S. Air Force Col. Amy Kremser, 175th Mission Support Group commander, Maryland Air National Guard. “It’s getting to know how active duty works and letting the active duty know how the Air National Guard works. I think we have such a great group here to make a good impression for the Maryland Air National Guard.”
Members of the 175th Communications Flight provided substantial support to the 31st Communications Squadron. Maryland Airmen ensured that unserviceable Air Force IT assets were remediated in a timely manner while maintaining the integrity of software applications and connectivity. Also they supported the asset management office on base, which sustains over 12,000 assets across 42 geographically separated units, seven different squadron locations with a total inventory in excess of $30 million.
“It was a great opportunity for our Airmen to experience supporting an active-duty base and learn their systems, which is great preparation for deployment,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Huettner, 175th Communications Flight commander, Maryland Air National Guard. “We were able to provide integral support across all shops and specifically worked to establish the new [communications and cyber mission] training program for the 31st Communications Squadron. In addition, we addressed real-world outages in collaboration with 31st Communication Squadron Airmen."
Twenty-four Airmen from the 175th Force Support Squadron, assisted the host unit at the post office, dining facility, and fitness center, as well as with readiness and resources support. The 175th Contracting Office worked with their counterparts on various contract writing and file systems.
175th Wing staff judge advocates were able to support the 31st Fighter Wing Legal Office by providing counsel to SJA on a myriad of military legal issues, drafting a legal review of a complex Freedom Of Information Act request, as well as reviewing and editing stipulations of fact for a court martial.
"This type of annual training allows us to develop skills and address issues we may not necessarily see on a drill weekend," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jason Van Wagner, 175th Wing staff judge advocate, Maryland Air National Guard. "It is important for our office to maintain our current skills and develop new skills through this kind of training engagement."
Months of planning allowed for Airmen from the 175th Wing to receive more than 5,000 hours of combined training.
“This was my first annual training with the military, it was definitely eye-opening,” said U.S. Air Force Airman Xavier Wakefield, a services apprentice assigned to the 175th Force Support Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard. “Everything from being under different leadership, working with different people, and learning new cultures, was definitely worth experiencing to better prepare us for the future.”