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News: Hardrockers return from Afghan, SWA deployment

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Hardrockers return from Afghan, SWA deployment Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace

Single 726th Air Control Squadron Airmen receive welcome-home packages after returning from deployment to various locations in Afghanistan and Southwest Asia, and were reunited with family and friends at a celebration at the Mountain Home Air Force Base flightline, May 23, 2014, at the base in Southwestern Idaho. "Hardrock" Airmen provided time critical battle management command and control using sensors and communication located across Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace/Released)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho – More than 150 members of the 726th Air Control Squadron returned May 23 from a deployment to Afghanistan and Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 726th ACS, also known as Hardrock, is a tenant unit at MHAFB and assigned to the 552nd Air Control Wing located at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

“The squadron provides the air component commander a ground-based theater air control system surveillance and battle management command and control element for assigned aircraft, air defense artillery and multi-link architectures,” said Capt. Louis Griffith, 726th ACS director of training. “We deliver mobile, long-range, ground-based remote radar and radio capabilities. Our mission sets include air battle execution, weapons control, surveillance and tracking, combat identification, early warning capability and tactical information links."

Since January 2014, the Hardrock Airmen provided time-critical battle management command and control using sensors and communication located across Afghanistan. Their efforts led to an accurate radar air picture and bolstered daily coordination in execution of the combined forces air combatant commander’s priorities and support for troops on the ground.

“Everything we do supports the accomplishment of that mission,” said Griffith. “It doesn't matter if it's the various technicians who ensure the radar, communications, and vehicle fleet are fully mission capable, or the mission crew operator completing the training necessary to ensure they are proficient in those mission sets described. We all make every effort possible to ensure that the 726th ACS is always prepared to go."

As a tenant unit at MHAFB, the squadron must perform the dual role of completing their mission while supporting the base.

“Our mission fully supports the MHAFB mission of preparing mission-ready gunfighters to provide dominant combat air power to meet our nations' call anytime, anywhere,” said Griffith. “Despite the fact that we are a tenant unit, we have developed an awesome partnership with wing leadership and the local community.

By integrating with the wing to provide support for local flight operations and exercises, Hardrock Airmen are able to better meet the demands of current and future contingency operations.

But for today, these Airmen heroes are just happy to finally be home.

”My husband doesn't even know I'm here today,” said Jennie Leeper. “He thinks I'm back home not able to make it. This was the first deployment for us, and I've missed him a lot. I’m just so excited that he’s home!”


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This work, Hardrockers return from Afghan, SWA deployment, by SMSgt Kevin Wallace, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:05.23.2014

Date Posted:05.23.2014 20:17


Hometown:BOISE, ID, US




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