174th Attack Wing breaks bread and offers base tour to local clergymen and women

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Barbara Olney
  • 174th Attack Wing

HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE- Seventy local pastors and clergymen showed up for the 174th Attack Wing’s Clergy Day event at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base on Tuesday, June 14.

The clergy men and women received an inside look at the 174th Attack Wing’s daily operations and learned how the wing contributes to the community.

“It’s one thing to speak to members but to see where and what everyone does is amazing, “said Friar Richard Riccidi from Assumption Church in Syracuse said.” It was amazing to see how the 174th provides support from Syracuse to across the world.” 

“The purpose of the event was to invite local area clergy to learn about what we do here and to thank them for their ministries to our folks in the community,” said Maj. Matthew Hallenbeck, 174th wing chaplain.

“This will hopefully build relationships between us and them, and maybe inspire them to join the chaplain corps or to talk about the opportunities with the guard with members of their congregations”, Hallenbeck added.

The event started with a mission brief from the 174th Attack Wing commander, Col. William McCrink III.

McCrink explained the wing’s federal and state missions. The wing has been supporting MQ-9 combat operations overseas since 2009.

At the same time, the wing has supported state emergencies missions. Airmen have been involved in 25 missions since 2017.

Some of these missions include Hurricane Maria in 2017, Lake Ontario flooding in 2017 and 2020, Buffalo tornado response in 2017 and most recently the states 2 yearlong Covid-19 response.

The 174th Attack Wing has also sent trained MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators to help California Air National Guard response to fires. The 174th airmen helped fly California MQ-9 operations which were monitoring the California wild fires.

“The world we live in is pretty complicated, McCrink said. ‘We need airmen focused on being able to do the job but none of this happens without the airmen.”

The visit included a tour of the 174th Attack Wing hangar, 174th Formal Training unit (FTU) and to the 274th Air Operations Squadron (ASOS).

While at the 174th Maintenance Group hangar the visitors received a close up look to the MQ-9 reaper and were able to talk with airmen from the 174th Maintenance Group. The 174th Maintenance Group prepares, trains and provides maintenance support to the MQ-7 reaper.

The visit continued to the 174th Formal Training Unit. The FTU provides training to pilot and sensor operators MQ-9 operations.

The visit included a tour of the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS). The 274th ASOS is part of the 107th Attack Wing. The 274 th ASOS provides close air support during combat operations.

Lastly, the visit served lunch and a question and answer session from the 174th recruiters and the 174th chaplains.

“I was surprised at the amount of people who had come. This is the first time we had ever done this type of event,” Hallenbeck said. “There was a lot of engagement between us and the community.”

“We knew there was a base here but never knew what went on said Pastor Angela Deas, ChristianLife Assembly from, Syracuse. “It was great!”