By Maj. Roman Hund, 22nd Communications Squadron commander
/ Published February 21, 2007
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- From traditional Air and Space Expeditionary Force deployments, to embedded support to the U.S. Army, the 22nd Communications Squadron is embroiled, day-to-day, in the Global War on Terror.
This small unit of less than 150 military, a handful of civilians and contractors provides support to keep Air Mobility Command's premier KC-135 Tanker Wing, the 931st Air Refueling Group, and the 184th Air Refueling Wing, Kansas Air National Guard, flying.
During AEF 5/6, about one-third of the squadron personnel deployed in support of Operations IRAQI and ENDURING FREEDOM. The bulk of support is filling key roles in the Air Force's busiest communication squadron, the 332nd CS, Balad, Iraq.
A few others keep the air mobility mission rolling at Ali Al Salem, Kuwait. Still others are providing critical communications service in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Bagram, and Al Udied.
Two of our young information managers are moving mail at an Air Force postal detachment in Balad supporting Army postal services.
These two Airmen, trained in combat skills and postal operations, deployed for 179 days in November 2006. They had two weeks preparation from notification to start of training. Both have done outstanding work in this unit.
Our officers are also getting some unique experience providing communications for Special Forces in Iraq and one of our second lieutenants is on an Air Force team providing electronic countermeasure training to the U.S. Army and support to the Afghan National Army. Second Lieutenant Carl Hanauer is also using his information technology background to provide support to NATO member nations at Camp Spann, Afghanistan.
In-garrison support does not stop while our personnel are deployed. Not only does the 22nd CS support the active-duty and Reserve air refueling mission, we have picked up support to some critical Guard missions. The Guard Network Operations and Security Center is located at McConnell AFB. This NOSC and its support to the National Guard Bureau, 102 Air National Guard sites and 147 Guard geographically separated units worldwide rely on our communication infrastructure to maintain operations and security of all Guard network systems. The Guard NOSC is the largest segment of the Air Force portion of the DoD Global Information Grid. In addition, a relatively new mission for the Guard, Distributed Ground System, has taken hold at McConnell.
These intelligence warriors rely on our infrastructure to execute intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions supporting the Global War on Terror.
The Kansas Air National Guard is one of the busiest units with more communications intensive and distributed missions lining up to fill in the gaps of the changing role of the National Guard in the Air Force. The 22nd CS and the 184th Communications Flight have stepped out with a ground breaking total force initiative using resources both Active and Guard to support this and other critical missions.
The Guard NOSC is using its capabilities to provide timely and accurate notification of network circuit issues on McConnell.
"Creativity and open mindedness have been the significant factors in fostering the working relationships that allow us to wisely use the resources we have available on the base," said Maj. Dave Weishaar, 184th Communications Flight commander. "We understand we have a unique communication situation at McConnell and work at capitalizing on that uniqueness in order to do our part in the Global War on Terror."
This effort reduces the amount of equipment and training needed to build the visibility required to monitor these networks. Combined with manpower from the 184th Communications Flight, the 22nd CS is able to provide 24/7 coverage for critical circuits.
The communications warriors at McConnell continue to lead throughout the globe while keeping a multitude of programs, projects, systems, and transformation initiatives on track ensuring our combat effectiveness. We are able to continue to provide worldwide C4 services by growing leaders at every level. This is why our mantra is "We lead dot com!"