Terre Haute Living August 2018 - Page 25

United States Marine Corps recruiter Gunnery Sergeant Matthew Nelson leads prospective recruits on a run at the Vigo County Youth Soccer Association fields. Opposite, top: Nelson watches as prospective recruits train. Bottom: Nelson leads prospective recruits on a series of leg lifts. WORDS: LEAH R. SINGER PHOTOGRAPHY: JOSEPH C. GARZA T erre Haute is not considered a military town. But that’s not to say the armed forces do not play a significant role in the community. The city has multiple Army National Guard and Army Reserve units, as well as the Marine Corps Reserve and Active Duty recruiters. Additionally, Terre Haute is home to the Air National Guard 181st Intelligence Wing, which as the fifth largest employer in Terre Haute, has a $72 million economic impact on the community. The Air National Guard base, located at Hulman Field, was established in 1954 when the city welcomed the 113th Tactical Fighter Squadron. In 2007, the Squadron changed to the 181st Intelligence Wing. The majority of the personnel assigned remained in Terre Haute and were retrained to the new intelligence mission. The 181st Intelligence Wing is a leading intelligence orga- nizations in the Air National Guard. It is home to more than 900 military and civilian personnel who work in the areas of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Air Support Operations, CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package, and Agile Combat Support. The 181st Intelligence Wing is one of only three Distrib- uted Common Ground System (DCGS) military intelligence sites in the country (the other two are located in Kansas and Massachusetts). What makes Terre Haute unique, however, is it only Intelligence Wing that also houses an Air Support Operations Squad- ron (ASOS). The 113th ASOS unit provides battlefield airmen, many of whom serve as Joint Tactical Air Controllers. Col. Christopher Alderdice has served as the commander of the 181st Intelligence Wing since Feb. 2017. While many individuals ask why Terre Haute is the home to the Intelligence Wing, Alderdice said there are several significant factors that contribute to its home in Vigo County. Those include close proximity to training ranges, access to domestic response units, and the fiber optics that run along Interstate 70. “Many of these kids have never had someone sit down and ask them where they see themselves in five years, or what do you want to do. ” tribstar.com/terrehauteliving August 2018 • Terre Haute Living 25