HomeNewsArticle Display

Piecing together the bigger picture

Staff Sgt. Pedro, radar maintenance technician, conducts a performance maintenance inspection on the antenna low-noise amplifier at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia March 24, 2015. Radar maintenance technicians ensure serviceability and functionality of equipment in support of the mission. Pedro is currently deployed from the Air National Guard’s 141st Air Control Squadron out of Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Brown/RELEASED)

Staff Sgt. Pedro conducts a performance maintenance inspection on the antenna low-noise amplifier March 24, 2015, at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia. Radar maintenance technicians ensure serviceability and functionality of equipment in support of the mission. Pedro is a radar maintenance technician currently deployed from the Air National Guard’s 141st Air Control Squadron out of Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Marie Brown)

Staff Sgt. Wilfredo, radar maintenance technician, verifies the parameters and enters weather daily values on a TPS-75 radar system to accurately calculate the target altitude at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia March 24, 2015. The TPS-75 radars assist in providing air coverage and support to the Expeditionary Air Control Squadron’s current mission. Wilfredo is currently deployed from the Air National Guard’s 141st Air Control Squadron out of Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Brown/RELEASED)

Staff Sgt. Wilfredo verifies the parameters and enters weather daily values on a TPS-75 radar system to accurately calculate the target altitude at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia March 24, 2015. The TPS-75 radars assist in providing air coverage and support to the Expeditionary Air Control Squadron’s current mission. Wilfredo is a radar maintenance technician currently deployed from the Air National Guard’s 141st Air Control Squadron out of Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Marie Brown)

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Many people balk at the idea of assembling a 1,000 piece puzzle. Imagine performing this task daily, except the puzzle pieces are actually the aircraft tasked with projecting airpower, saving lives and carrying critical supplies throughout the theater.

Airmen with the Expeditionary Air Control Squadron (EACS), also known as “Kingpin,” provide the information needed for completion of the Air Tasking Order, a 24-hour planning document that assigns specific aircraft to specific missions.

“We provide 24/7 operational and tactical command and control capability for U.S. Air Forces Central Command in support of ongoing operations including Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) and the Combined Defense of the Arabian Gulf,” said Lt. Col. Ryan, the commander of EACS. “So left to right, we provide command and control across the area of responsibility, covering 876,000 square miles along with our airborne command and control platforms.”

It takes a unique team to put these pieces together and contribute to the successful mission of the EACS.

“We are a very unique squadron, a total force unit of active duty and Air National Guard, a joint force with U.S. Air Force, Army with a requirement for Marines, and coalition force, as we have the Royal Australian Air Force and the British Royal Air Force all rolled into one,” Ryan said.

One piece of this puzzle is maintenance, which repairs and maintains the radios and radars needed to provide the command and control.

“Our job is to maintain the TPS-75 radars so they can provide air coverage and support to our current mission,” said Master Sgt. Jose, the radar shop supervisor, currently deployed from the Air National Guard’s 141st Air Control Squadron, Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico. “We make sure the radars are operational so the operators at the Battlespace Command and Control Center-Theater can perform their duties.”

Another piece of this larger puzzle features the surveillance technicians.

“My job is to detect, track and identify throughout three AOR’s to properly communicate with aircraft to confirm their identity and intention,” said Senior Airman Isaac, a command and control battlefield manager surveillance technician. “If any tracks of interest pop up, we will push it up and get eyes on it as soon as we can.”

It is vital for the service members working in the BC3-T to communicate and direct aircraft in the skies.

“Without Kingpin, a lot of aircraft would be running into each other,” Isaac said. “It would be a bad day.”

With so many issues happening at once, it takes a special kind of person to be able to direct the aircraft where they need to go.

“You need to be able to remain calm and work under pressure,” said Isaac who iscurrently deployed from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. “The more you stress out or freak out, the worse it is going to get for you and everybody else around you.”

This calm demeanor and professionalism has been key to Kingpin’s ability to provide command and control for nearly 300 U.S. and coalition aircraft in support of OIR, Resolute Support mission and Freedom’s Sentinel on a daily basis. During this Kingpin team’s deployment, they have tripled the air space they control, which now expands across the CENTCOM AOR. They also support the Afghanistan Resolute Support mission and stood up the OIR Iraq and Syria mission.

“It has been very busy,” Ryan said. “We started off with just the Arabian Gulf and then expanded out from there.”

The success of the EACS can be credited to the teamwork displayed by each and every member. The EACS is unique in that they own everything from maintenance of the equipment all the way through the execution of their mission.

“We are one big family,” Ryan said. “Without maintenance to maintain the radios and radars, we can’t see the aircraft, weapons directors can’t see or talk to their assigned aircraft, surveillance technicians can’t identify the aircraft, and battle managers can’t direct the aircraft to execute the mission that it is tasked with by the Combined Air Operations Center. We can’t get the job done without everyone. It’s amazing to see all the pieces work together so well.”

(Editor’s note: Last names and unit designators were removed due to safety and security reasons.)

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Watch the video of Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett being sworn in. Click the link to learn more about… https://t.co/agE0mT2cFj
RT @EsperDoD: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett, the 25th @SecAFOfficial. I know she will lead the charge to modernize @usairforce operati…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: It’s a great day to be an Airman. Today Barbara Barrett officially became our 25th @SecAFOfficial. The men and women…
RT @DeptofDefense: Fill em up! ⛽ KC-135 Stratotankers from @RAFMildenhall refueled over 80 F-15s in a two-day exercise, offloading 480,000…
RT @SecAFOfficial: Today I officially became the 25th Secretary of the #AirForce. I'm conscious of the extraordinary privilege of working w…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: #BomberTaskForceEurope 20-1 is in full swing and B-52s from @TeamBarksdale are operating out of RAF Fairford to improve bomb…
RT @EsperDoD: During #CyberSecurityAwarenessMonth, I challenge all @DeptofDefense employees to stay committed, ensuring they are following…
RT @AirNatlGuard: Special Delivery! ✈️📦 The @109thAW teamed up with the @RCAF_ARC for Operation Boxtop, an annual resupply mission to suppo…
We strive to increase our Airmen's lethality and capabilities. Learn about firefighters leading the cost-effective… https://t.co/Nrgx3BSrtl
RT @EsperDoD: Congratulations to Barbara Barrett for her overwhelming bipartisan confirmation by @SenateGOP & @SenateDems to be the 25th Se…
Gen. Stephen Wilson visited Houston to help #SpaceCity celebrate #AstronautWeek. He visited @spacecenterhouston and… https://t.co/Nymvd98qvQ
Our Airmen continuously work to strengthen our alliances. Learn more about how EOD partnered with Niger Armed Force… https://t.co/VwRIOnBokn
Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of #HoustonWeHavePodcast by @NASA_Johnson where Gen Wilson joins Air Force Colon… https://t.co/Y7u9cHFtOt
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: This is an exciting day for our Air Force. Secretary Barrett brings an incredible background and a level of strategic…
The Senate has confirmed the 25th Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett. https://t.co/Y6kDGD5eds
RT @DoDHealth: #DYK? Many @TRICARE beneficiaries may qualify to purchase vision insurance through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision I…
Hello #Chicago! SrA Genesis Martinez Arteaga grew up in Chicago and has great things to say about the city, click… https://t.co/o8gFv5YYhp
RT @cmsaf18: It's a great day for our teammates in every corner of the DoD! Our brothers and sisters in service are in the best hands possi…
RT @DVIDSHub: This is what it’s like to be a piece of #military cargo being dropped from an aircraft. Try not to get dizzy! … https://t.co…