Climbing to new heights

Staff Sgt. Stacy Pritts
1st Communication Maintenance Squadron

***image1***The 1st Communication Maintenance Squadron’s Cable and Antenna Special Maintenance Team, also known as “Cable Dawgs,” maintain a high-pace that has earned them recognition as top in their field.

Cable Dawgs are 20 Airmen who provide rapid, innovative, theatre-wide Communications and Information Systems restoration and installation support for U.S. Air Forces in Europe contingency and steady-state operations, said Tech. Sgt. Shane Rose, cable/antenna assistant NCO in charge. They perform emergency restorations on failed or degraded cable and antenna communication systems all over USAFE and are responsible for project design, installation and removal of local area and wide area network infrastructure, Sergeant Rose said.

The team set off to perform Annual Optimization Inspections and conduct preventative maintenance on microwave antennas providing critical voice and data communication support for the United States, NATO and allied forces serving in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism operations throughout Europe, Sergeant Rose said. In Belgium, they hit 20 microwave antennas at five different sites.

***image2***Then, they headed south to Italy to inspect and conduct maintenance on 42 antennas at nine sites. The team was flown by helicopter to work on two mountain sites in Italy, Mount Paganella and Mount Cima Gallina and finally ended up in Germany completing their inspections on 84 antennas at 10 different sites. The total value of the systems they maintain is more than $4 million and the 14-member team had the work completed in 55 days, Sergeant Rose said.

Still, the team made time for a quick response to Camp Eagle at Tulza Air Base, Bosnia. The team responded within 48 hours to restore the Air Force News service tower. They rewired the entire electrical system on the tower to quickly restore uninterrupted AFN service to the deployed troops.

The Cable Dawgs supported the $12 million Ramstein GE Precision Approach Radar reflector install on the flight line allowing on-time Rhein Main Air Base transition, crucial to USAFE air operations.

Additionally, in support of the Rhein Main closure, the team recently removed six microwave antenna dishes from a 200-foot tower in five days, Sergeant Rose said.

This tower was one of first to be decommissioned over the next two years as the Department of Defense transitions from the old World War II microwave data links throughout Europe to the new high-speed fiber optics network.