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269th CBCS plays a vital role in establishing communication

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amber Mullen
  • 178th Wing

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio-- All over the world, the Air Force builds and establishes bases to further their mission objectives and counter adversaries. The Airmen of the 269th Combat Communications Squadron located at Springfield-Beckley Air National Guard Base, Ohio play a vital and critical role in getting these bases to operational status.

“If the Air Forces decides to stand up a base in an unmanned area, then we would go in and install the initial communications for the base to use,” said Master Sgt. Justin Deel, a cyber operations technician assigned the to 269th CBCS.

The 269th CBCS is a self-sustaining unit that can provide tactical communications for domestic and world-wide operations. Within 24 hours of being on the ground in their deployed location, the unit is able to set up satellite communications, radio transmissions, and establish fully operational networks for members.

“We are pretty efficient and effective at getting things completed in a timely manner,” said Tech. Sgt. Clay Bertke, a cyber operations technician with the 269th CBCS.

The mobility of the unit provides the Airmen with unique perspectives and specialized experience with fixing networks. This experience allows the 269th CBCS to be a valuable resource in aiding a fixed communication squadron down range.

“An advantage that we have is we run into a lot of strange issues and troubleshooting opportunities that a fixed communications squadron doesn’t,” said Bertke. “We can come in and have a different perspective on the issue and find different solutions that might be quicker or better.”

In the event of natural disasters impacting the homeland, the 269th CBCS deploys and works with first responders to help the victims impacted.

“We’ll go to a location where communication has been knocked out due to natural disasters or an emergency situation,” said Bertke. “We come in and provided radios, internet, and cell phone service to fire fighter, emergency medical services, police, the Red Cross and any emergency departments so they can perform their services to help those affected.”
In order to stay quick, effective, and ready to deploy, Airmen must remain qualified on all of their capabilities. In order to do this, the unit is constantly training to enhance their skillsets.

“We can get pretty in-depth in our training and train constantly,” said Deel. “If we need to break the network for trouble shooting practice, then we can do it without effecting a live mission.”

The unit is able to dismantle their network and set up trouble shooting simulations to allow their members to become familiar with potential issues they may run into in a deployed environment.

“We don’t have a live mission 24/7 so we can always be intentionally breaking the network, learning how to fix it, and simulating issues which is really great for training,” said Bertke. “When we do roll out the door and something comes up, we’ve done it.”

The 269th CBCS is the oldest communications squadron in the Air Force and has ben expertly providing service since World War II . With their unique skillset, the unit is a crucial asset to the overall Air Force mission.