Airmen from the 1st Combat Communications Squadron embodied total force integration this week when they hosted a combined exercise with their counterparts from the Air National Guard and Reserve.
During the event, more than 100 members of the 35th CBCS from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and 236th CCS from the Louisiana Air National Guard deployed to Ramstein with their tactical communications equipment for a two-week exercise focusing on integration of several new communications technologies, interoperability and combined training.
“Total force integration is more than a military catch phrase. It describes the unity and cooperation between active-duty, Reserve and National Guard units,” said Lt. Col. Keith Mueller, 1st CBCS commander. “When the opportunity was available to host this event at the (1st CBCS), I wanted to capitalize on the invaluable training opportunity — not only for the technical aspects, but for the partnerships to be built.”
During the event, the three squadrons deployed their tactical communication equipment to build a “Hub/Spoke” network, which simulates a main operating base with two geographically separated units operating as one communication element. In the future, this type of configuration will be used to support a large-scale expeditionary Joint Task Force with one or more forward operating bases.
The 1st CBCS learned during its involvement in operations Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector, deploying in this type of tactical network configuration saves “space” on the satellite services, as the “hub” accesses network services through the Defense Information Systems Agency before distributing them to the “spoke” sites. Satellite access time and network service quickly become a premium during large-scale employments.
Parallel to the operational exercise, seven additional training classes are being instructed by members of the 236th CCS and Georgia Air National Guard Combat Regional Training Center. These classes cover many areas of the tactical communications world, including PSC-5 radios, routers and switches, host base security systems, and the newest version of the deployable network control center.
Nearly all of the classes are taught and attended by active-duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen.
This exercise was a great opportunity, said Capt. Harry Trosclair, 236th CCS detachment commander.
“Establishing comprehensive communications between the different units provided realistic training, resulting in valuable lessons learned,” he said. “In the Air Force’s high-tempo environment, exercises like this are invaluable to prepare our troops for real-world commitments.”