When it comes to fear of heights, there’s little room for the 1st Communications Maintenance Squadron to give into it. However, they may find solace through their quarterly tower rescue training.
The 1st CMXS provides the training to certify Airmen throughout the U.S. Air Forces in Europe — Air Forces Africa command, which is crucial in ensuring the safety of Airmen performing duties in communications towers, or any tower for that matter.
“We use the climb training to get ready for deployments,” said Senior Airman Brandon Allen, 1st CMXS cable and antenna theater maintenance technician. “In a deployment, we would climb to install antennas on towers or do random checks to make sure the antennas are good to go.”
Since communication is a vital piece to mission success downrange, these Airmen must be prepared to scale the towers and rescue their wingmen in the event of a mishap.
“Rescues are unpredictable,” said Senior Airman Alex Baldomino, 1st CMXS cable and antenna theater maintenance technician, “It can happen at any time. You could be the most proficient climber and have an off day, and maybe you pass out on the tower.”
The trainers went over different methods of tower rescue, which depend on the type of tower.
“For each tower there’s a different way to rescue, and some work better for others,” Allen said. “We mostly work on communications towers, but some are bigger in size than others.”
As the central hub for tower training within the vast area of responsibility, the team ensures Airmen can be certified as much as possible.
“There’s not a whole lot of people who can host this training, and with the materials we have, our own training tower, we shoot to host one of these once every quarter or more as needed,” Allen said. “People will come to us before a deployment where it’s a requirement, and we have to get refreshers any time we go out on a mission that involves climbing.”
For Baldomino, training his wingmen for a “what-if” scenario is rewarding.
“I’m trusted to teach others,” he said. “I have the ability to train them, trust in them, sign them off and be comfortable that they’ll be able to take the skills that I teach them and apply it to their job. I think that’s special.”
The 1st CMXS will continue to provide tower training for Airmen in the communications career field throughout the USAFE-AFAFRICA theater.