KMC commander visits Romania

Capt. Erin Dorrance
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***U.S. Air Force F-16 Falcons launch alongside Romanian MIGs, one right after another on a hot summer day in Constanta, Romania. The aircraft are taking part in Exercise Viper Lance 2006, the first-ever U.S. F-16 Falcon exercise on Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Constanta, Romania.  
As the planes dog fight and fly low-level, Ramstein Airmen from the 1st Combat Communications Squadron ensure the flyers are able to command and control their aircraft and have communications back to their home station.
“It doesn’t matter how new or technologically advanced your aircraft is, said Col. Rich Johnston, KMC and 86th Airlift Wing commander. “You can’t fly without communications.”  
The 13-person communications team supports the 264-person exercise with phones, network connectivity, land mobile radios and ground-to-air radios that the team connected in three days before the start of the exercise, said 1st Lt. James Curbo, deployed communications officer in charge.  
During a visit to Viper Lance Monday, Col.   Darryl Roberson, 52nd Fighter Wing commander, told Colonel  Johnston that his communications troops set the standard for communication and airfield support.
Colonel Johnston was very proud to see his troops working with fellow NATO countries and sister Air Force wings.  
“One of the main objectives of Viper Lance is to forge relationships with the Romanian Air Force,” he said.  “These Airmen are spectacular at what they do and I am proud to have them represent Ramstein and the U.S. Air Force.”  
The Airmen will return to Ramstein Tuesday ready for their next assignment − an attitude necessary for a combat communications squadron whose motto is, “First in, last out − Hooah.”