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    From Bethlehem to battle management: Deployed Tinker air weapons officer helps make 'history' every day

    Tinker Captain, Bethlehem Native, Serves As Air Weapons Officer on AWACS Combat Air Missions in Southwest Asia

    Photo By Master Sgt. Jenifer Calhoun | Capt. Samuel Lawrence, an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft air...... read more read more



    Story by Senior Airman Jenifer Calhoun 

    380th Air Expeditionary Wing

    SOUTHWEST ASIA -- If you look back far enough, the storied history of Capt. Samuel Lawrence's hometown of Bethlehem, Pa., includes involvement by Gen. George Washington and his Revolutionary War soldiers transiting through the city on the banks of the Delaware River.

    For Lawrence, an E-3 Sentry air weapons officer with the 965th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron, he's also making history through his service and support of overseas contingency operations in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

    Air weapons officers like Captain Lawrence provide a "broad spectrum picture" to air operations on the E-3 that no other airframe offers in the deployed theater offers. The E-3 mission platform, according to its Air Force fact sheet, provides situational awareness of friendly, neutral and hostile activity, command and control of an area of responsibility, battle management of theater forces, all-altitude and all-weather surveillance of the battle space, and early warning of enemy actions during joint, allied and coalition operations.

    "The important thing for us to do is to identify air assets in place and control them in accordance with the special instructions we were given," said Capt. Samuel Young, who is deployed from the 965th AACS at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. "We're kind of like a safety net. We take those assets and make sure they are employed accordingly with the instructions we have."

    Lawrence said the function of the weapons section where he works in the E-3 is "incredibly important" because it keeps everything safe.

    "We can see a lot of the traffic when we are up on a mission," Lawrence said. "If there is bad weather out there, for example, we can keep an eye out and manage each situation. In our section with several weapons officers, we split up the work load. Each of us has a different responsibility. We keep on with that responsibility and we communicate through our objectives as they come up."

    Major subsystems that aid Lawrence in doing his work in the E-3 are avionics, navigation, communications, sensors (radar and passive detection) and identification tools, the fact sheet also shows. The mission suite includes consoles that display computer-processed data in graphic and tabular format on video screens. Mission crew members like Lawrence perform surveillance, identification, weapons control, battle management and communications functions.

    In joining the military, Lawrence said he is glad he made the decision to go forward with it and, like General Washington did in his hometown, will continue to make history happen.

    "I joined because I wanted to do something...I wanted a good career and I wanted to do something that mattered," Lawrence said. "I love it. I wouldn't do anything else. I have a great group of people to work with and we have a great mission."

    The 965th EAACS is an attached unit of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. The wing is home to the KC-10 Extender, U-2 Dragon Lady E-3 Sentry and RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft. The wing is comprised of four groups and 12 squadrons and the wing's deployed mission includes air refueling, surveillance, and reconnaissance in support of overseas contingency operations in Southwest Asia. The 380th AEW supports operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.



    Date Taken: 03.16.2010
    Date Posted: 03.16.2010 00:50
    Story ID: 46708

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