88 ABW stands as ‘dirty work wing’ for Wright-Patt’s critical missions

  • Published
  • By Sarah Amato
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The 88th Air Base Wing has a prestigious and rich nearly 80-year history and continues to shape and accomplish a multitude of challenging missions every day – dominating the dirty work to impact and support its partners and warfighters worldwide.

From airfield operations and plowing roads to securing the installation’s gates and manning its communications network, the wing serves as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s host unit. It maintains all infrastructure and provides security, communications, medical, legal, personnel, finance, transportation, air traffic control, weather forecasting, public affairs, and recreation and chaplain services for more than 100 associate units.

Notably, the 88th Comptroller Squadron manages 32 percent of the Air Force’s budget, making it one of the largest comptroller squadrons in the service.

“The number one priority for the Mighty 88th is to provide ‘strength through support’ for our mission partners. We are the ‘dirty work wing’ that makes all of Team Wright Patt’s efforts succeed,” said Col. Christopher Meeker, 88 ABW and installation commander. “Those critical-support functions our Airmen provide allow our mission partners to get after their big Air Force warfighter missions.”  

The secretary of the Air Force has challenged all Airmen and Air Force units to execute seven operational imperatives necessary to face the nation’s greatest strategic challenges for the future, along with being called to action by the Air Force chief of staff of the Air Force to Accelerate Change or Lose

With its mission to deliver war-winning capabilities through agile installation and mission support, the wing’s vision is to be the “premier air base wing… one team – people driven, mission focused!” Through its work to support Air Force Materiel Command’s lines of effort, it further enhances the Air Force’s readiness to transition to a wartime posture against potential adversaries.

Like most large military bases, WPAFB can be compared to a medium-sized city. It includes many services and features a community offers – from shopping malls and a post office to a hospital and grocery store. The wing serves as the public works nerve center supporting all of the installation’s missions.

Comprised of more than 5,000 active-duty Airmen, Air Force civilians and contracted employees, the wing reports to Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, a major development and acquisition product center of AFMC.

Supporting more than 115 mission partners and agencies, the wing is responsible for three primary missions: operating the installation, training and deploying expeditionary Airmen in support of joint operations, and defending the base and its people.

Among its many responsibilities, it oversees four groups: 88th Civil Engineer Group, 88th Medical Group, 88th Mission Support Group and 88th Wing Staff Agencies.

The 88 ABW command team has launched a new strategic plan for the wing to focus its initiatives.

88 ABW lines of effort to provide strength through support are:

  • LOE 1: Provide strength through support to our mission partners
  • LOE 2: Strengthen our team
  • LOE 3: Revolutionize our processes

Strength through support

The 88th Civil Engineer Group is a major player in the wing’s first line of effort – “provide strength through support to our mission partners” by delivering planning, programming, design, construction, fire protection, emergency management, maintenance and repairs, real property and housing.

It provides facility and infrastructure services that enable each unit and organization on base to fulfill their mission.

“In some form or another, the civil engineer team touches the lives and mission of each tenant, partner, wing asset and person on the installation,” said Steven Vincent, 88 CEG director. “Whether it’s the base ‘welcome’ sign, 2 million square yards of roadways, 2.1 million square yards of airfield or the over 600 buildings…that is the 88th Civil Engineer Group.”

Supporting our warfighters

Through its work to maximize mission effectiveness, 88 MSG oversees security, communications, transportation, fuels, maintenance, education and training, military family and personnel support for the installation.

The group directs the 88th Force Support Squadron, the largest in the continental United States, with more than 100 facilities and morale, welfare and recreation activities ranging from child development to fitness centers to consolidated clubs.

It also directs planning for the Air Force Marathon held each September at WPAFB. The group also helps facilitate and support the local USO chapter, Defense Commissary Agency and Army & Air Force Exchange Service on base.

Its leaders say 88 MSG is proudly the “muscle behind the mission,” which serves as its vision statement.

“We support the wing by supporting the warfighter,” said Louis Vance, deputy director of 88 MSG. “We ensure the base is safe and secure and Airmen have the right types of resiliency tools. We make sure our Airmen are well trained, well fed and ready to take on any challenge.”

Strengthen our team

The 88th Medical Group fulfills the wing’s second line of effort – “strengthen our team” – through its mission operating Wright-Patterson Medical Center, the Air Force’s second-largest medical facility, providing groundbreaking care to 62,000 beneficiaries.

“The 88th Medical Group trains medics from all disciplines to maintain the health and well-being of all service members and beneficiaries,” said Col. Dale Harrell, 88 MDG commander. “We maintain full-service inpatient, outpatient, emergent care and pharmaceutical platforms while also managing numerous graduate medical education programs in service to the Air Force and Defense Health Agency.”

The group manages the 88th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, 88th Dental Squadron, 88th Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron, 88th Healthcare Operations Squadron, 88th Medical Support Squadron, 88th Surgical Operations Squadron and 88th Inpatient Operations Squadron.

With nearly 2,200 medics supporting 40 clinics, four inpatient units and 57 beds, 88 MDG annually supports 300,000 outpatient visits, 3,600 admissions and 405,000 lab tests.

Through two locations within the hospital’s atrium and base Kittyhawk area, the group also features one of the busiest, state-of-the-art pharmacies in the Air Force, filling 562,000 prescriptions per fiscal year.

“(We) support the air base wing by ensuring a maximum state of readiness for any contingency, providing outstanding customer service and always delivering world-class ready reliable care,” Harrell said.

Revolutionize our processes

The 88th Wing Staff Agencies oversees 22 organizations with more than 380 personnel while representing 33 civilian job series and 23 Air Force specialty codes to support the wing’s third line of effort to “revolutionize our processes.”

WSA’s responsibilities ultimately affect all personnel and veterans.

“We are the ones behind the scenes that make the mission happen,” said Lt. Col. Amy Justus, 88 ABW director of staff and commander of 88 CPTS. “At times, our work isn’t glamourous, but it is the right thing to do to build a culture and climate that fosters success. We take care of the mission and the people.”

Among its many missions, WSA manages the Air Force Band of Flight, chaplain services, Combined Federal Campaign, Commander’s Action Group, Integrated Prevention and Resilience Office; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office; Drug Demand Reduction Program, Information Protection, Inspector General, Staff Judge Advocate Office, Plans and Programs Division, privatized housing, Protocol, Public Affairs, retiree affairs, Safety Office, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response coordinator, Strategic Initiatives and 88 CPTS.

Building stronger community ties

Developing active community outreach and strong ties are a major wing initiative.

Through representation and work with numerous community groups such as local chamber of commerce organizations and economic development corporations, along with participation in sporting events and various speaking opportunities, the wing and its leadership realize the installation’s success continues to depend on community, regional and statewide support.

The wing has had a steady impact on the local Dayton community since its inception, which dates back to 1944 as the 4000th Army Air Bases Unit.

Wright-Patterson AFB’s economic impact to the greater Dayton region is more than $5 billion annually.

The wing and installation have also left a mark on the regional and state economy. WPAFB is the largest single-site employer in Ohio and one of the largest employers among Air Force bases worldwide, with approximately 30,000 military members, civilians and contractor personnel working here.

‘Dominate the dirty work’

This mission story is part of the 88th Air Base Wing’s “Dominate the dirty work” series, highlighting how it accomplishes various tasks and bolsters AFMC’s national and strategic missions by providing strength through support. 

Through feature stories, photos, videos and graphics, we will tell you about the “dirty work” that often goes on behind the scenes. Coming soon: Learn more about the 88 WSA.