News>It takes a team: Airmen contribute to Kingpin success
Members of the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron maintain and operate the TPS-75 radar system in Southwest Asia. The 727th EACS, also known as "Kingpin," is deployed from the 128th Air Control Squadron, Volk Field Combat Readiness Center, Wis. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Christina M. Styer)
Senior Airman Scott Lacey performs a preventative maintenance inspection on the TPS-75 radar system using the Air Force Radar Evaluations System Jan. 21, 2013. Lacey is an 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron ground radar systems maintainer, deployed from Appleton, Wis. The 727 EACS, also known as “Kingpin,” is composed of 14 career fields that are responsible for monitoring and providing vital air picture information to ensure the successful completion of the Air Tasking Order. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Christina M. Styer)
Senior Airman Mathew Cleveland performs routine maintenance on a trailer mounted generator Jan. 21, 2013. Cleveland is a 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron aerospace ground equipment technician, deployed from Sparta, Wis. Cleveland is a member of the “Kingpin” unit, which is composed of 14 career fields that are responsible for monitoring and providing vital air picture information to ensure the successful completion of the Air Tasking Order. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Christina M. Styer)
Senior Airman Lewis Winchel troubleshoots by monitoring radio frequencies used by the TPS-75 radar system Jan. 21, 2013. Winchel is a 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron radio frequency communications technician. He is deployed from Tomah, Wis. Winchel ensures that Kingpin operators in the Battle Command and Control Center are able to communicate with the aircraft executing the Air Tasking Order. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Tech. Sgt. Christina M. Styer)
by Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
2/1/2013 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- The Air Force's mission in Southwest Asia has many components, one of which is little known, yet vital to mission success.
Airmen with the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, also known as "Kingpin," provide the information that allows successful completion of the Air Tasking Order, a 24-hour planning document that assigns specific aircraft for specific missions.
"Without Kingpin, the ATO doesn't happen as successfully," said Master Sgt. Chris Peacock, the 727th EACS weapons director, a native of Warrens, Wis. "We monitor the air for anything outside the ATO so we can report it to the Combined Air and Space Operations Center."
The CAOC plans, monitors and directs sortie execution, close-air support, intelligence, surveillance, air refueling and countless other mission critical operations throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and 18 other nations. The CAOC depends on the air picture from Kingpin's battle command and control center for effective decision-making, and that picture comes from the TPS-75 radars Airmen maintain.
In addition to providing intelligence for the CAOC, the battle command and control center provides overwatch for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and seven Army Soldiers within the unit share the situation in the air with fellow Soldiers who control the air defense missile systems.
It takes a team of 14 unique specialties to make sure the radars stay operational. The team members have different Air Force specialty codes, but all have the same goal in mind -- keeping the radars online.
"The radars run off two different types of power, and the generators we work on provide that power for them," said Senior Airman Mathew Cleveland, 727th EACS aerospace ground equipment technician, originally from Sparta, Wis. "There would be no monitoring the airspace here if the radars lost power."
Playing another important role are specialized communications Airmen. If communications are disrupted, the potential break in information flow could be detrimental to the mission.
"We work with a variety of small local area networks, as well as wide area networks with circuits connecting across the area of responsibility," said Tech. Sgt. Dylan Miller, 727th EACS theater deployable communications technician and Elroy, Wis., native. "If there is a break in communications, we troubleshoot it to find the solution as quickly as possible so the mission can continue."
It is important for operators in the battle command and control center to be able to communicate with aircraft to confirm their identity and intention.
"When the operators have problems communicating with aircraft, they give us a call," said Senior Airman Lewis Winchel, 727th EACS radio frequency communications technician, originally from Tomah, Wis. "The hardest part is when there's a major problem to troubleshoot. We have to be efficient to make sure the operators can do their jobs."
Preventative maintenance is an important way to find and correct issues before they can have a negative impact on the mission.
"The radars are very sophisticated," said Tech. Sgt. William Dietrich, a 727th EACS electronic protection technician from La Crosse, Wis. "They help deter enemy attacks and provide the air picture. We do periodic evaluations and adjustments to make sure the radar gives the operators a clear picture."
While the amount of people dedicated to the radar system seems like a lot, the importance of the system being maintained explains the special attention it receives.
"We have a large amount of our own maintenance specialties because of the uniqueness of the equipment we use," said Senior Airman Scott Lacey, a 727th EACS ground radar systems maintainer from Appleton, Wis. "It's important for us to address issues as they come up before they cause bigger problems. If we didn't take care of the radars the sensor would go down and the mission would stop."
Kingpin is like a puzzle with 1,000 different pieces. When the pieces are all together they make a picture, which, in this case, provides the information critical to the success of the larger mission.
2/5/2013 5:41:32 PM ET Not preventative JUST preventive