They go down into man holes and up into towers. They handle equipment big, small, short and tall. The 435th Air Ground Operations Wing’s 1st Communication Maintenance Squadron is the United States Air Forces in Europe’s and Air Forces Africa’s premier communication maintenance unit.
Thanks to their efforts, Ramstein Air Base’s Global Gateway stays open not just to the sky, but also the to information highway.
“We have three main responsibilities here at the 1st CMXS; battle damage assessment, optimization and premier training,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Gamboa, 1st CMXS operations flight chief. “Because of these mission sets, we have to ensure we are able to go where we are needed quickly or troubleshoot here to get the job done.”
Each of the 1st CMXS’s mission sets make the unit a valuable asset for USAFE-AFARICA.
“Battle damage assessment is essentially emergency restoral work we can perform,” Gamboa said. “If Ramstein, or a surrounding base, is trying to fix their network or communications and aren’t able to, we will go to their site and get it running no matter where they are.”
The 1st CMXS is all about ensuring USAFE-AFAFRICA units are getting the most bang for their buck. Like many squadrons in the Air Force, development is the name of the game.
“We can be the hands for higher leadership who need to get a theater-wide project done,” Gamboa said. “We go ahead and change whatever needs to be changed across the network and ensure we’re getting the most out of equipment. We have to complete complex jobs and sometimes we have to get creative to finish them.”
Many people who have had computer or network trouble know it can be difficult and time consuming. The 1st CMXS tries to alleviate those issues, and do it in less time than needed.
“We went to Aviano Air Base, Italy, last year to help them with a problem they had with their communications capabilities,” said Staff Sgt. Francis Leon Guerrero, 1st CMXS noncommissioned officer in charge of cyber operations. “The timeline to complete the job was four to eight months. Because of our efforts and utilization of new systems, we were able to cut it down to three weeks. We try to reduce those times to ensure our customers can get back to doing their jobs faster.”
The 1st CMXS stays in the fight by training themselves and others to ensure the cyber world does not pass them by.
“If anybody in the comm world needs to get specialized training, we’re the people they go to,” Gamboa said. “We can go to the unit in need of training or tag team training events. We’ve partnered up with units from all over the theater to get them trained up by our subject matter experts.”
Every job has something about it that can make it worthwhile. For Guerrero, it’s about learning new things from the people around him.
“This job is different, and that’s what I like about it,” Guerrero said. “It’s a challenge and it makes me better. Coming to this unit, which has such a wealth of knowledge, I was able to learn more about my job, because of some fantastic Airmen who really know their stuff.”
The 1st CMXS are the go-to Airmen called upon to rapidly support some of the more difficult communications related jobs. Because of their hard work and dedication, they were awarded the team of the year by the 435th Air and Space Communications Group.