378th AEW officially activates at PSAB
By Senior Airman Giovanni Sims, 378th Air Expeditionary Wing
/ Published December 17, 2019
PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia --
The moment boots hit the ground, operations to build up the base became a priority. Airmen and Soldiers arrived to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and worked tirelessly, day and night, overcoming a myriad of obstacles and challenges in an effort to stand up a new Air Forces Central Command air expeditionary wing.
The hard work paid off. Now, at the heart of that base sits the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing, which officially activated during a ceremony here, Dec. 17, 2019. Supporting the new wing’s operations are approximately 1,800 forward-deployed military members.
"This wing activation is a clear reassurance of our commitment to our gulf partners that we will continue to provide a credible, capable, and dynamic defense posture to deter malign actors in the region," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, AFCENT commander. “It also improves our operational depth in the Middle East and reinforces our ability to secure the high ground and, if necessary deliver war-winning air power.”
During the ceremony, Guastella presented U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. John C. Walker, former deputy commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force in Afghanistan, with command of the wing.
In his first address to the wing, Walker said the mission of the 378th AEW is to provide an additional deterrent and ensure the U.S.’s ability to defend its forces and interests in the region. He also thanked the service members who helped build the installation into what it is currently.
“You’ve established an expeditionary airpower capability that will provide an asymmetric advantage to any commander,” Walker said. “I feel it is a capability and a requirement that is necessary for success in any modern day military operations. Well done.”
The infrastructure on the installation was built to project and deliver decisive air power, accommodate airfield operations, and provide ground-based air defense capabilities.
"The buildup of PSAB has been a truly phenomenal testament to the ability of U.S. forces to flex to the rapidly evolving requirements of this AOR," Guastella said.
The increased U.S. presence came at the request of Saudi Arabia and fills a mutually beneficial role of ensuring regional stability.
"We are here to reassure our Saudi partners of our commitment to their security and prosperity," said U.S. Air Force Col. Jason King, 378th AEW vice commander. "The U.S. has built the base for flexibility. It can scale to be as modest or as large as the combatant commander needs."
Nearly two decades ago, PSAB hosted the largest expeditionary operations center in the Air Force and served as the primary location for U.S. air power in the region. Now, with its activation as a wing, it has again become home to U.S. service members whose mission is to continue to build and sustain an expeditionary operations hub, used to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia and security in the Middle East.
As part of the CENTCOM and AFCENT, the 378th AEW will provide strategic depth and increased defensive support while sustaining regional presence to promote peace through deterrence.