125th Regional Support Group activated to support National Defense Strategy

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Chelsea Smith
  • 125th Fighter Wing

Florida Air National Guard officials formally recognized the formation of the 125th Regional Support Group during an activation ceremony held at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Florida, Feb. 24, 2023.

The 125th RSG activated Jan. 15, 2023, under the 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard, and will be headed by inaugural Commander Col. Brian Vitetta. The group encompasses the 202nd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE), 290th Joint Communications Support Squadron, 159th Weather Flight and 131st Training Flight.

The formation postures the 125th FW for greater warfighting capability and enhanced readiness to meet the strategic threats of today and tomorrow, said Col. George Downs, 125 FW commander.

“Under [the Secretary of Defense’s] 2022 National Defense Strategy, our central challenge is to develop, combine and coordinate our strengths to maximum effect and that’s precisely what the 125 RSG is designed to do,” said Downs. “As the military continues to pivot away from the middle east and towards the Indo-Pacific region, the specialized capabilities of the 125th RSG will be central to enabling joint operations that meet our national security objectives.”

The structural change also aligns with national strategic objectives to develop multi-capable Airmen for agile combat employment anywhere in the world, said Downs.

“We are leveraging the multi-capable skills that our guardsmen inherently bring to the fight,” said Downs. “Our Airmen are demonstrating the agility and expertise needed to build an airfield from scratch, create the necessary cyber infrastructure to support a Joint Force Headquarters, and enable safe combat aviation from an austere environment. For them, it will be business as usual.”

125th RSG units have distinct and complex mission sets but train together regularly to better employ integrated deterrence. Under the 2022 National Defense Strategy, integrated deterrence seeks to integrate all tools of national power across domains, geography and spectrum of conflict while working with allies and partners.

“This level of integration is central to our future successes and will only get stronger with [Col. Vitetta] being in a position to ensure that our RSG Airmen are properly developed to enable mission readiness while we continue to modernize for the future,” said Downs.

Because of their specialized capabilities, 125th RSG units are often in high demand for missions both at home and abroad.

For example, 202nd RHS provide the Air Force with a highly mobile, rapidly deployable civil engineering response force ready to perform heavy damage repair for recovery of critical air force facilities and utility systems following enemy attack or natural disaster. They are often activated first following a natural disaster, especially during hurricane season, to perform route clearance before recovery operations can fully begin.

The 290th JCSS provides tactical communications systems to support U.S. national security objectives during times of crisis, war, and natural disaster recovery, and the 159th WF provide high-quality meteorological services to varying national, state, and local missions.

“Every time they are called upon, they have delivered – whether in their own backyard or assisting neighbor states,” said Downs. “The unique capabilities and expertise found in our RSG airmen have always been a tangible sign that help is here and tomorrow will be better than today.”

Vitetta, former commander of the 202nd RED HORSE, said that he was humbled to be given the opportunity to lead the highly specialized group of combat engineers, communicators, and meteorologists.

“I look forward to the day when an F-35 lands on an island runway in the Pacific built by 202nd Red Horse Airmen,” said Vitetta. “Then pilots attain their next mission tasking on a computer network that was installed by our 290th JCSS. Before flying that sortie, they receive a weather briefing from an Airman in our 159th weather flight who was trained by someone at our 131st training flight.”

He concluded, “The specialized capabilities of these four squadrons and flights are the bedrock of the federal and state mission that we are tasked to do, and I’m honored to have the privilege to lead this group of amazing Airmen.”