SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --
After more than a decade, the 609th Air Support Squadron was re-activated Sept. 18, at a ceremony at the Carolina Skies Club, here.
The squadron is part of the 609th Air Operations Center, U.S. Air Forces Central Command at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. But, while the squadron may be geographically separated from the AOC, its mission stays centered in the fight.
“We are truly distributed (around the globe),” said Col. Frederick Coleman III, the commander of the 609th AOC, who spoke at the re-activation ceremony. “All of these people use technology provided, maintained, and protected by our own communications squadrons here at Shaw and at Al Udeid to plan, task, command and control every airplane that flies, every bomb that is dropped, every pallet that is moved, from Egypt to Afghanistan.”
The 609th ASUS was originally active from Jan. 1, 1994 to March 1, 2008. While it was active it prepared, coordinated, and reviewed operation plan annexes supporting Air Force component planning, execution, combat support and combat service support.
Today, the 609th ASUS will provide its unique vigilant capabilities as well as the opportunity for expansion.
“We are changing the game,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Reid, the new 609th ASUS commander and former 609th AOC, Det. 1 commander. “This is about growth. We are changing the spectrum with how much distributed operations we can do anywhere in the world. We’ve demonstrated with our agile systems that we can access and support anywhere. This is built in resiliency. The growth of the squadron really is about continuing that trend.”
But, the 609th ASUS, isn’t all hi-tech computers and networks. It as vigilant team of hard working Airmen dedicated to mission success.
“Our Airmen are excited,” said Master Sgt. Anthony Rigazio, the 609th Joint Interface Control Cell superintendent. “I think it is great that our Airmen get to see their worth with their assistance and contributions here. They don’t have to deploy to see their worth in the mission. Here, they get to see their mission live.”
And, it is the strength of the 609th Airmen who will ensure their future mission success.
“You are the weapons system,” said Coleman. “The AOC isn’t a building, it’s not a computer, it’s not a program -- it’s a system of people who develop an air operations plan in our strategy division and a master air attack plan in our combat plans division; that execute the air tasking order from our combat operations division; that inform our decisions and monitor the battlefield in our ISR division, that move all of our cargo, fuel, and people in the air mobility division; that share and protect our information and our systems in our air communications squadrons; and that allow us to distribute operations and deliver defense in depth with our Air Support Squadron. You are the AOC. You are the heart and soul of American Airpower. You are what makes us great.”