News: Combat communications exercise in Texas prepares Airmen
Story by Capt. Ladonna Singleton
Forty eight communications specialists consisting of Airmen from active duty Air Force and Air National Guard bases throughout the United States and overseas to include England, Guam and Japan successfully completed the three-week Advanced Theatre Deployable Communications Exercise at Garland Air National Guard Station, May 8.
"The Advanced TDC Exercise greatly enhances our combat readiness. It cuts our upgrade training to 5-level in about 50 percent of the time and generates tremendous lift to Airmen' s confidence to operate and maintain the equipment. It permits access to huge depth of knowledge and expertise. This training provides a steady pipeline of Airmen in short order including active duty, guard, and reserve to deploy TDC equipment worldwide with capabilities to "integrate the fight, not just C4," stated Texas Air National Guard Colonel Will Allen, 254th Combat Communications Group commander.
"I ensure a fair share of exercises happen at different Air National Guard bases and ensure different geographical locations host the Advanced Theater Deployable Communications Exercise. We do three of these exercises a year with about 60 students each in six disciplines," stated Mr. Joel Jones, Air Combat Command Deployable Communication Team's program manager.
"This exercise was extremely smooth because of the unit support by the 254 CCG and 221 CBCS," stated Mr. Clarence Williams, director of the Advanced TDC Exercise.
"This was the perfect example of how expeditionary communications will work. There were two sites of communicators that have never worked together before, with lead personnel at each site stepping out of their normal Air Force specialty roles. To be able to see the training to execution phases of this course was rewarding that the Air Force is training Airmen well," stated Master Sgt. Shawn Honea, 221 CBCS, Garland ANG Station, Texas.
"This exercise offered advanced training from Air Force Engineering and Technical Services the "best of the best." The instructors bring in different ideas from different places and provide input on fixes which allows experts to go back to the different parts of the world and squadrons and share their knowledge," stated Jones. "AFETS core instructors come from a number of Air Force Bases including, Tinker AFB, Shaw, Peterson and Tyndall," stated Williams.
Participants commented on their experiences gained throughout the exercise. "This was definitely the best training that I ever had. The instructors really brought to light information that I heard before but did not know the full scope," stated Staff Sgt. Elmer Wilburn from the 352nd Operations Squadron, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.
"This was an outstanding experience. We worked hard, had a great time and took care of business. No one could ask for anything more than that," stated Senior Master Sgt. Timothy Corbeil, 32nd Combat Communications Squadron, Tinker AFB, Okla.
"Speaking for a communications officer fairly new to the combat comm world, the systems planner course allowed me to first learn about the individual pieces of equipment and then, perhaps more importantly, how all of those pieces fit together to provide the multitude of communications services," stated Capt. Shannon Morris, 33rd CCS, Tinker AFB, Okla.
"During my three weeks out at Garland ANG Station, I have refreshed my knowledge of SATCOM principles and grasped a new concept on how to maintain and operate multiple comm.
equipment systems. This course has prepared me by furthering my expertise in satellite communications and when I return to my unit, I will train personnel to a greater extent making my unit more efficient and mission ready," stated Senior Airman Keith Williams, 728th ACS, Eglin AFB, Fla.