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    It takes a team: Kingpin - 14 AFSCs, one air picture



    Story by Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer 

    380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

    SOUTHWEST ASIA - The vast mission in Southwest Asia has many components - but one which is little known, yet vital to mission success - is the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron – also known as Kingpin.

    Kingpin’s mission is to provide the information that allows successful completion of the air tasking order, a 24-hour planning document that tasks specific aircraft for specific missions.

    The CAOC plans, monitors and directs sortie execution, close air support, intelligence, surveillance, air refueling and countless other mission critical operations throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and 18 other nations. The CAOC depends on the air picture from Kingpin’s Battle Command and Control Center for effective decision-making, and that picture comes from the TPS-75 radars Kingpin maintains.

    In addition to providing intelligence for the CAOC, the battle command and control center provides overwatch for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Also, there are seven Army soldiers within the unit sharing the air picture with fellow soldiers who control the air defense missile systems.

    It takes a team of 14 unique specialties to make sure the radars stay operational. The team members have different Air Force specialty codes, but all have the same goal in mind – keeping the radars online.

    “The radars run off of two different types of power, and the generators we work on provide that power for them,” said Senior Airman Mathew Cleveland, 727th EACS aerospace ground equipment technician, originally from Sparta, Wis. “There would be no monitoring the airspace here if the radars lost power.”

    Playing another important role are specialized communications airmen. If communications go down, the potential break in information flow could be detrimental to the mission.

    “We work with a variety of small local area networks, as well as wide area networks with circuits connecting across the area of responsibility,” said Tech. Sgt. Dylan Miller, 727th EACS theater deployable communications technician and Elroy, Wis., native. “If there is a break in communications, we troubleshoot it to find the solution as quickly as possible so the mission can continue.”

    It is important for operators in the battle command and control center to be able to communicate with aircraft to confirm their identity and intention.

    “When the operators have problems communicating with aircraft, they give us a call,” said Senior Airman Lewis Winchel, 727th EACS radio frequency communications technician, originally from Tomah, Wis. “The hardest part is when there’s a major problem to troubleshoot. We have to be efficient to make sure the operators can do their jobs.”

    Preventative maintenance is an important way to find and correct issues before they can have a negative impact on the mission.

    “The radars are very sophisticated,” said Tech. Sgt. William Dietrich, 727th EACS electronic protection technician, a La Crosse, Wis., native. “They help deter enemy attacks and provide the air picture. We do periodic evaluations and adjustments to make sure the radar gives the operators a clear picture.”

    While the amount of people dedicated to the radar system seems like a lot, it makes sense when you understand the importance of the system being maintained.

    “We have a large amount of our own maintenance specialties because of the uniqueness of the equipment we use,” said Senior Airman Scott Lacey, 727th EACS ground radar systems maintainer from Appleton, Wis. “It’s important for us to address issues as they come up before they cause bigger problems. If we didn’t take care of the radars the sensor would go down and the mission would stop.”

    Kingpin is like a puzzle with 1,000 different pieces. When the pieces are all together they make a picture, which, in this case, provides the information critical to the success of the ATO.



    Date Taken: 01.27.2013
    Date Posted: 01.28.2013 00:49
    Story ID: 101112

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