SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- Six Airmen from the 269th Combat Communications Squadron (CBCS) are deploying from Wright Patterson Air Force Base to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to provide tactical communication support for first responders and other government agencies in response to Hurricane Irma, Sept. 7.
The 269 CCS, based at the Springfield Ohio Air National Guard base, is capable of providing communication capabilities with a mobile satellite, electricity, telephone, internet and video conferencing, and information technology services.
With only a few days’ notice, the six-man team quickly mobilized to support the hurricane efforts The group is a self-contained unit bringing their own equipment and supplies to last them several weeks. Equipment includes a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability (JISCC) which provides satellite Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity and Radio Frequency (RF) network communications along with other equipment to enable command and control to be established within hours of arrival. The JISCC suite is aligned with the Ohio Joint Operation Centers Homeland Response Force (HRF) and CERFP (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive enhanced response force packages) disaster response teams.
“They [State Headquarters] were looking for communication capabilities to go down and work with first responders, said Capt. Craig Conner, 269th CCS Detachment Commander. “So working with fire, the police department, and any other government agencies that come in. We have the ability to basically go in with our communications equipment and we can allow them [first responders] to work together, speak together, all being on the same network.”
This is not the first time the 269 CBCS has been called to service for disaster support. The 269th is based at the Springfield Air National Guard Base and has provided tactical communications support nationally for Hurricane Katrina and the 2016 Republican National Convention. In the past year, they deployed tactical communications support to Jordan, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Kingdom supporting Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, OPERATION NEW DAWN, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and the Joint Horn of Africa. Additionally, they are actively supporting other expeditionary mission with United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).
“It’s [the] lessons learned from Katrina that allows this system to be put together,” said Conner. “We can now provide the same services as with Katrina, but in a much smaller footprint.”
Senior Airman Jade Brown, an Infrastructure Lead for the Joint Incident Site Communications Capability terminal will be going on his first real world deployment.
“I got a call from the 269 CBCS Commander asking me if I wanted to go,” said Brown. “Instinct was heck yeah, this is what we train for and there was a lot of excitement initially.”
Having only forty eight hours to prepare for this deployment, SrA Brown was very thankful for the support and understanding from his employer, professor, and family.
“I’m really excited and honored to be involved with this opportunity and hopefully situations like this don’t happen too often,” said Brown. “But when they happen, I hope that I can always be a part of it.”
“As the commander of the 269 CCS, it is an honor to have this opportunity to help save lives and support our brothers and sisters to rebuild their communities,” said Lt. Col. Samantha Adducchio. “Our years of training and experiences culminate to this point in time to make a positive difference in the lives of others. I cannot put into words the pride I feel for this team of individuals and all the members of the 269th that spent countless hours making this deployment happen in such a short period of time.”
The 269 CBCS is aligned with the 251st Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group, Springfield Air National Guard Base. They are also the oldest combat communications squadron in the Air Force tracing their roots back to the signal corps with the Army in Normandy.