176th Wing Communication Flight Continues Tradition, Becomes Communication Squadron

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kelly Willett
  • 176th Wing Public Affairs

The 176th Communications Flight hosted a ceremony that redesignated them from a flight to a squadron March 3, 2024, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Communications Airmen provide various communication services to support military operations including cyber operations, deployable communications, network operations and information technology support among others.

The change from flight to squadron not only represents a name change, it encompasses the true mission the 176th Communication Squadron fulfills.

Flights represent smaller operational units focused on carrying out specific missions, while squadrons are larger organizational units that oversee and coordinate the operations of multiple flights within a particular area of responsibility or mission set. The squadron currently fulfills multiple missions across the wing.

In March 2011, 176th Wing moved to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, under the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. As a tenant communication support agency under One-Base, One-Network, the 176th Communications Flight continued to support the primary mission of the 176th Wing by providing trained and equipped personnel to support both federal and state missions.

The 176th Wing Communications Flight was poised to transition into a squadron, focusing on Enterprise Information Technology as a Service and Mission Defense Team initiatives. EITaaS initiatives involve managing and delivering IT services more efficiently and effectively. MDT initiatives are focused on defending critical missions and systems against cyber threats and attacks. Both of these critical missions help the 176th Wing accomplish their goals.

On March 15, 2018, the Cyber Squadron Enabling Concept was published, which introduced EITaaS and MDTs to the Air Force communications community. With these concepts, the vision of becoming a cyber squadron was born.

The new unit emblem, the Raven, symbolizes creation and knowledge in Alaska Native culture and is known for helping the local people. The Raven is also seen as a messenger bringing signals of change, and thus carrying on its wings the transformation to the digital age of communication as represented by the gold circuitry. The circuitry within the emblem also represents the connectedness of our unit members to each other, our state, and our great nation.

Alaska Air National Guard Lt. Col. Herbert Gladwill looked out on the new squadron and spoke about the unit's future.

“It is time to look to the future," he said. "You, the Airmen and [noncommissioned officers] of the squadron are the future of this organization. We will take up this new guidon and execute fixed cyber communications, agile communications and cyber mission assurance.”