HomeNewsArticle Display

Out of the shadows: ACMS Airmen provide missing link

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ditore, the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, right, cleans monitors with Senior Airman Robert, a 432nd Aircraft Communications Maintenance Squadron ground control station communications mechanic, Feb. 11, 2016, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. They were wiping the screens as part of a preventative maintenance inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ditore, the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, right, cleans monitors with Senior Airman Robert, a 432nd Aircraft Communications Maintenance Squadron ground control station communications mechanic, Feb. 11, 2016, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. They were wiping the screens as part of a preventative maintenance inspection. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ditore, the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, left, listens as Senior Airman Robert, a 432nd Aircraft Communications Maintenance Squadron ground control station communications mechanic, explains how to fill out post-inspection paperwork Feb. 11, 2016, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. As part of the communications squadron, Robert is responsible for performing inspections on the ground control station. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ditore, the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, left, listens as Senior Airman Robert, a 432nd Aircraft Communications Maintenance Squadron ground control station communications mechanic, explains how to fill out post-inspection paperwork Feb. 11, 2016, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. As part of the communications squadron, Robert is responsible for performing inspections on the ground control station. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada (AFNS) -- Preparing to support remotely piloted aircraft operations is no easy task. Still, Airmen assigned to the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing recently spent time showing leadership exactly what it takes to provide RPA intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support at any time.

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ditore, command chief of the wings, shadowed two Airmen from the 432nd Aircraft Communications Maintenance Squadron Feb. 10 and learned about how the unit provides the link between RPAs and ground support at Creech Air Force Base.

Senior Airman Robert, a communications mechanic, and Staff Sgt. Rachel, a communications supervisor, are responsible for ground control squadron maintenance. Assigned to the 432nd ACMS, they maintain the electronic link between pilots in the ground control station and their RPAs.

Both Airmen are also part of the only communications squadron that services ground control stations at Creech AFB. A station acts as a cockpit to pilots and sensor operators who control MQ-1 and MQ-9 aircraft from the ground, and being the only specialists with the tools to maintain them makes their job especially important to the RPA mission.

As they conducted a preventative maintenance inspection (PMI) with Ditore, the Airmen covered important aspects of the job, and provided him with valuable insight. The Airmen showed Ditore how to properly care for the station, as well as how to fix it if something goes wrong.

Robert said that keeping the stations maintained enables pilots and sensor operators to fly, and demonstrated that without them, RPA flights wouldn't be possible.

"When you're enabling combatant commanders to successfully complete the mission, it's a great feeling," Robert said. "I love being in the Air Force and being in communications because there is a requirement everywhere for us. We can go anywhere in the world, we can set up anywhere in the world."

For Robert, station maintenance often involves more than wrench turning. It also focuses on servicing the computers and the technical aspects of communications that enable RPA crews to talk with ground crews and the aircraft itself.

As part of his efforts to develop Airmen at Creech AFB, Ditore developed the shadow an Airman for a day program to put faces to the Airmen of the community.

"It's really important that we get to know our Airmen and what they are doing," Ditore said. "We all bring something to the fight. It's important for us not to lose that perspective of one another."

As a former maintainer, Ditore felt at home performing the PMI alongside the ACMS Airmen. Ditore finished various tasks alongside the Airmen, from cleaning computer screens to taking apart station items.

Like most other jobs in the Air Force, paperwork is a crucial part of maintenance inspections. When Ditore was finished with the shadow, Robert showed him how to fill out forms and mark discrepancies found during the inspection, explaining what each one meant and how to write them.

Ditore said shadowing the Airmen allowed him to gather a new perspective on the 432nd ACMS and their importance to the mission.

"(Working with) communications gives me variety," Ditore said. "It lets me see how these Airmen are making a difference, helps me find out how to help and show we care."

Editor’s note: Some last names were removed due to security concerns.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Congratulations to Air Force Civil Engineer Tim Sullivan, who was named the 2020 Federal Engineer of the Year! 🎉… https://t.co/tIafy8KqKs
Did you know anxiety and depression are invisible wound conditions that can affect our Airmen? They can manifest in… https://t.co/7TJn1CICbh
Airmen practice joint close air support during exercise Cope North 20 to improve combat readiness, develop integrat… https://t.co/GLpsJAlvCx
RT @inspire_af_: The @usairforce understands the importance of innovation, and @AETCommand is continuing to move towards student-centered l…
RT @AirmanMagazine: These @usairforce U-2 pilots fly at 70,000 ft, where they provide vital reconnaissance for U.S. combatant commanders.…
Spouses, family members, & caregivers are a vital part of the #AirForce family. They take care of us & we must take… https://t.co/ayzETFm5M1
The Air Force Gunsmith Shop recently released a redesigned M4 Carbine that will fit in most ejection seats. This Ai… https://t.co/f4UPJLlPxp
RT @AETCommand: Innovating in your everyday environment doesn't always lend itself to creativity! Check out the Spark Cell space at Altus…
.@USAFCENT Airmen refuel a KC-135 with a Force system in Southwest Asia. This new capability provides more efficien… https://t.co/fA2OARRUqj
RT @ArmedwScience: Civil engineering is a key part of a deployed environment. Listen as this airman explains the civil engineering capabili…
WATCH: @SecAFOfficial joins @SecArmy and @SECNAV for a discussion with @CSIS on the state of the services, defense… https://t.co/Vfk09EMBdP
Congratulations Capt Lockridge. #AimHigh https://t.co/fcJQi1vsFO
.@ABCSharkTank, anyone? The Air Force Spark Tank announced its 2020 selectees. 6 Airmen were selected to present… https://t.co/5aoPxZ2OTF
Capt Jessica Knizel was the first of 10 Air Force Aerospace Nurse Practitioners. To meet the qualifications, Kniz… https://t.co/hu2WXp8i8z
RT @HQ_AFMC: #Civilians: Less than 10 days left to apply for CDE and CSLP! The time is NOW to apply for #professionaldevelopment that will…
Sleep tight. We work nights. A1C Donald Edwards, crew chief, inspects a C-17A Globemaster III at Joint Base Charl… https://t.co/pawAK7TUn7
RT @SecAFOfficial: Appreciate your leadership & time spent with our #Airmen who stand the watch! https://t.co/IAV7nIZCcX
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: A @usairforce HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 56th Rescue Squadron flies over #Aviano AB, Italy, Feb. 12. The 56th in…