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Engineering and Installation Airmen keep the mission connected

Staff Sgt. Lawence Santos intalls a cable shoe May 15, 2014, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The cable shoe will help prevent damage to the cable from rough or sharp surfaces. Santos, a East Taunton, Mass. native is a Combined Air and Space Operations Center Engineering and Installations cable and antenna technician, deployed from the 212th Engineering and Installation Squadron, Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sandra Welch)

Staff Sgt. Lawence Santos intalls a cable shoe May 15, 2014, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The cable shoe will help prevent damage to the cable from rough or sharp surfaces. Santos, a East Taunton, Mass. native is a Combined Air and Space Operations Center Engineering and Installations cable and antenna technician, deployed from the 212th Engineering and Installation Squadron, Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sandra Welch)

Staff Sgt. Lawence Santos (left) and Senior Airman Ariel Roldan, prepare the duct rod before running a cable May 15, 2014, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The cable is being used at the Air Traffic Control Tower and Command Post to provide connections for several necessary communication supports needed throughout the base. Santos and Roldan are Combined Air and Space Operations Center Engineering and Installations cable and antenna technicians deployed from the 212th Engineering and Installation Squadron, Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sandra Welch)

Staff Sgt. Lawence Santos and Senior Airman Ariel Roldan, prepare the duct rod before running a cable May 15, 2014, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The cable is being used at the Air Traffic Control Tower and Command Post to provide connections for several necessary communication supports needed throughout the base. Santos and Roldan are Combined Air and Space Operations Center Engineering and Installations cable and antenna technicians deployed from the 212th Engineering and Installation Squadron, Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sandra Welch)

Staff Sgt. Lawence Santos pulls cables May 15, 2014, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The cable is being used at the air traffic control tower and command post to provide connections for several necessary communication supports needed throughout the base. Santos is a Combined Air and Space Operations Center Engineering and Installations cable and antenna technician. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sandra Welch)

Staff Sgt. Lawence Santos pulls cables May 15, 2014, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The cable is being used at the air traffic control tower and command post to provide connections for several necessary communication supports needed throughout the base. Santos is a Combined Air and Space Operations Center Engineering and Installations cable and antenna technician. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Sandra Welch)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- Every time Airmen use the internet to contact loved ones back home, or operators transmit data to one another, signals will run through miles of cable to keep service members around the world connected.

The Massachusetts Air National Guard Engineering and Installation team here, forward deployed from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, is keeping those connections possible by installing communications and cyber equipment throughout the 4.3 million square mile area of operations.

"They insure that information gets disseminated to the warfighters out in the field, whether that is joint fighters who are working toward of Taliban strong holds … or the remote pilot of an aircraft," said Col. Anthony Thomas, the Air Force Central Command A6 (communications) director.

Each team consists of only four to six members and travels throughout the AOR, led by a team chief, to provide a variety of communication lines.

"Here at Bagram Airfield, our job is to provide critical communication infrastructure to ensure that others are able to effectively execute their jobs,” said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Meservey, the Combined Air and Space Operations Center Engineering and Installations cable and antenna team chief. "Our work ranges from wiring the air traffic control tower to installing cables so people can call home."

The EI team recently installed cables to one of the airfield’s air traffic control towers and the command post. The newly-installed cable provided connection for several essential communication channels needed throughout the base.

"The project itself was started earlier in the week,” Meservey added. “Pulling the cable only took about a week but this was one of the smaller jobs. A typical job here in the AOR would last for six to eight weeks and have a very wide range of tasks -- from pulling cable to splicing 144 fibers or 1800 pair of copper cable..”

The mission provides meaning and accomplishment, Meservey said, but also offers satisfaction in serving fellow Airmen.

"Honestly, my favorite part of my job is providing people with the opportunity to call home and give them a chance to escape where they currently are and be with their family and friends,” Meservey said. “When I was deployed … we had a morale tent in the compound. You could go there and watch TV or use the computer. One night I went up there to use the computer and the tent was closed. I was a little upset, but then I read the notice on the door: It said it was closed because a young staff sergeant was in the room skyping with his wife and she was giving birth to their first child … being able to help him be there for his wife and child, that makes me love my job."

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