News: 242nd Combat Communications Squadron - Alaska Vigilant Guard Exercise
Story by Master Sgt. Eugene Lewan
The 242nd Combat Communications Squadron, Geiger Field, Washington Air National Guard, recently participated in the joint emergency preparedness exercise, Vigilant Guard.
This was a regional exercise for the state of Alaska. The exercise was a combination of the Alaska Shield, Joint Task Force Alaska's Arctic Edge and the National Guards Vigilant Guard. The exercise simulated a response to a large earthquake and validated Alaska's ability to respond to the challenges associated with a natural disaster of this type.
The 242nd Combat Communications Squadron deployed personnel and a suite of communications equipment known as the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability. The eight man team supported the community of Cordova, Alaska, a remote fishing port accessible only by air or sea. The 242nd CBCS flew into Anchorage aboard a C-5 aircraft, prepared their equipment and road mobilized it to Whittier, Alaska, where it was ferried to the town of Cordova. Rapid deployment of the JISCC enabled restoration of communications and cross banding of multiple local, state and federal emergency responders.
The 242nd JISCC provided phone, internet, video teleconferencing, VHF, UHF, HF and 800 MHz radio communications with the ability to act as an operator, interconnecting (cross-banding) these different frequencies and permitting all agencies an easy way to contact others involved in rescue and emergency response.
Also while deployed the team missed the Spokane 12K road running race, Bloomsday, but through the Bloomsday Away program, they were able to run at the deployed location completing 7.9 miles in just over an hour. Race director and founder Don Kardong, allows members of the military to participate from their deployed location and submit their times for the coveted post race t-shirt.
The team returned to the Spokane area in time for another great Spokane event the Lilac Festival Armed Forces Torchlight Parade. This is the largest in the nation and honors the men and women of all branches of the United States military services.