Airmen train together to maintain combat readiness

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nathanael Callon
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
In order to effectively operate ground and surface radar systems in combat operations, a diverse team of Airmen must work and train together.

The 606th Air Control Squadron is a self-sustaining unit capable of setting up bare-base operations and providing airspace surveillance at a moment's notice. It also is a unique and complex organization.

The 606th ACS consists of 21 different specialties to get the job done including radio operators, vehicle maintainers, communications specialists and radar technicians.

"Each individual is tasked with a specific function to complete the mission; each specialty functions with the other to ensure the combatant commanders are able to make decisions," said Master Sgt. Jason Boster, the 606th ACS combat readiness superintendent.

No single job is more important than the other, he said.  Each person brings a unique and specific capability to the team. Each person must know his or her job as well as remain up to date on combat related training.

Combat readiness plays an important role in each Airman's daily life.

"Whether it is computer-based training, on-the-job training or field exercises, we are constantly preparing ourselves to be the best when the time comes to go into combat," Sergeant Boster said.

Exercises and routine training help prepare the squadron for real world events. Such training allows maintainers to practice equipment troubleshooting and operators the chance to practice airspace deconfliction. The leaders also are able to practice split-second decision making that can affect troops on the ground.

"Participating in exercises helps me quickly recognize trends with equipment malfunction and establish basic procedures for directing maintenance in a deployed environment," Staff Sgt. Jonathan Mills, 606th ACS Maintenance Operations Center assistant NCO in charge, said.

"The exercises teach us what to expect and provide us with the tools to execute a prompt and comprehensive response to support air operations," Sergeant Mills added.

The 606th ACS has deployed every year since 2003, with seven unit deployments in support of Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

"As one of only two air control squadrons in U.S. Air Forces in Europe, there is a very high demand for our squadron to deploy," said Master Sgt. Randall Bach, the 606th ACS first sergeant. "Because the demand is so high, we have to always strive to be the best at everything we do."