News>Air National Guard Engineering and Installation Team keeping you connected
Members of Air National Guard Engineering and Installation Team prepare to connect tower sections while a civilian contractor helicopter lowers sections into place. A specialized team from several Air National Guard Engineering Installation Squadrons deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, combined their efforts to built and setup the 170-foot communications tower, greatly increasing radio communication range. (U.S. Air Force photo/1Lt. Bruce Champion)
Three Airmen from the Air National Guard Engineering and Installation Team a top of a 150 foot tower to assemble the final piece. A specialized team from several Air National Guard Engineering Installation Squadrons deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, combined their efforts to build and setup the 170-foot communications tower, greatly increasing radio communication range. (U.S. Air Force photo/1Lt. Bruce Champion)
by Staff Sgt. William Banton
Air Forces Special Operations Command
9/14/2012 - Southwest Asia -- Somewhere in the area of operations a senior airman, after getting off of a more than fourteen-hour shift to repair an crucially needed aircraft, is turning on a TV or radio to recapture a piece of home before the next shift begins.
At the same time coalition servicemember's fighting for their lives while bogged down in a valley surrounded by massive 12,000-foot peaks and cliffs are calling in close air support.
These two seemingly unrelated scenarios could have been nonexistent, and potential disastrous, without the support of the Air National Guard Engineering and Installation Team.
The contributions of the ANG EI team were essential in assuring the completion of a 170 radio tower install avoiding a 9-month delay in getting servicemembers the necessary communication support needed both inside and outside the wire.
"Arguably the most important piece of equipment in keeping consistent communication with our troops outside the wire is a radio tower," said Chief Master Sgt. Lance Burg, Combined Air and Space Operations Center Engineering and Installations Superintendent.
"Radio towers can strengthen the radio signal from the troops on the ground to the aircraft, to the tower, to the command post," Burg said. "Towers around the AOR also assist in providing AFN TV and Radio signals. Bottom line if height is needed to increase the reception of a signal, a tower will be used."
The EI team, composed of personnel from the 210th Engineering Installation Squadron out of Minneapolis, Minn., the 211th EIS out of Indian Town Gap, Penn., the 130th EIS out of Salt Lake City Utah and the 215th out of Seattle Wash., were handed a project that was at a standstill due to the unavailability of a crane that could lift the sections to the required height.
"Operating in the typical ANG EI fashion of overcoming challenges to complete the mission, the EI team lead by 1st Lt. Bruce Champion and Master Sgt. Dan Wright enlisted the volunteer assistance of a helicopter in placing the final three sections of this 170 radio tower," said Burg.
The final procedure to complete the installation required three Airmen to be suspended more than 150-feet above ground as a civilian helicopter lowered the final section in place.
"It's a honor to be a part of the One Force One Fight concept that includes the Active Duty, Guard and Reserve components," Burg said. "Every E&I team member on this rotation volunteered to serve in this theater and does so with pride and a sense of professionalism that their home states can be proud of."
Somewhere in the AOR, Air Force airmen are enjoying uninterrupted free flowing wireless communication without thinking twice about the men and women of the ANG EI team. And because of the contributions of the EI team they won't have to.
To date, the EI team has completed 81 engineering packages for additional communication infrastructure and installed more than 52 projects, including the installation of fiber optic cable, copper cable, inside computer and phone wiring, manhole installs, conduit installs, trenching and preventative maintenance.