News: Air National Guard Engineering and Installation Teams Keeping You Connected
Story by Senior Airman Sandra Welch
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Every time someone gets on the Internet to contact loved ones back home, or an aircraft flies over head, a signal is running through a cable somewhere to keep everyone connected.
The Massachusetts Air National Guard Engineering and Installation team, forward deployed from Al Udied Air Base, Qatar, are keeping those connections possible by installing communications and cyber capabilities throughout the 4.3 million square mile area of operation for all the war fighters.
“They ensure that information gets disseminated to the war fighters out in the field whether they are joint fighters working to ward off Taliban strong holds or the remote pilot an aircraft,” said Col. Anthony Thomas, Air Force Central Command, Combined Air and Space Operation Center, A6.
Each small team consisting of four to six airmen travels throughout the AOR providing a variety of communication lines.
“Here at Bagram Air Field, our job is to provide critical communication infrastructure to ensure that others are able to effectively execute their jobs, said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Meservey, Combined Air and Space Operations Center Engineering and Installations cable and antenna team chief. “Our work ranges from wiring the air traffic control tower to installing cables so people can call home.”
The EI team was called to run cables to the base’s command post and air traffic control tower. The cable provided connection for several necessary communication supports needed throughout the base.
“The project itself was started earlier in the week. Pulling the cable only took about a week but this was one of the smaller jobs. A typical job here in the AOR would last for six to eight weeks and have a very wide range of tasks from pulling cable to splicing 144 fibers or 1800 pair of copper cable,” added Meservey.
The mission provides meaning and accomplishment, but serving fellow airmen provides the greater satisfaction.
“I know that I should say something here like ‘it’s about providing communication to the planes and war fighters to help carry out the mission’ or something like that. But honestly my favorite part of my job is providing people with the opportunity to call home and give them a chance to escape where they currently are and be with their family and friends. When I was deployed in January of 2012 to Shindand, we had a morale tent in the compound. You could go there and watch TV or use the computer. One night I went up there to use the computer and the tent was closed. I was a little upset, but then I read the notice on the door. It said it was closed because a young Staff Sgt. was in the room skyping with his wife and she was giving birth to their first child. I know it’s not the sexiest of jobs and they will never make a movie about it but moments like that, being able to help him be there for his wife and child, that makes me love my job.”