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Al Udeid Airmen sharpen agile communication skills

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kayla White
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 379th Expeditionary Communication Squadron regularly conducts training to remain mission capable. Their mission is to provide enduring and sustainable cyber and communications capabilities to local coalition operations at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar and regionally in support of U.S. Central Command’s military objectives.

A recent training exercise between the 379th ECS and the 379th Logistics Readiness Squadron challenged the two units to load communication and radio equipment onto cargo pallets.

According to U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Victoria Spare, officer in charge of the 379th ECS agile communications team, this training provides her Airmen with a skillset that might serve them well in the future.

She said the pallets are used for cargo transport through the 379th ELRS, whose unit delivers this equipment to aircraft for load-up, so the equipment, along with designated technical crew members, can reach their final destination and ultimately fulfill operational requirements.

Spare and her team have also conducted internal training for their Network Management and Client Service Technician work centers.

“This training has focused primarily on learning and understanding the communications flyaway kit, how it functions, and how to deploy with it,” she said.

These mobile kits are designed to travel forward with military members to ensure they can communicate with mission partners wherever they go.

“The CFK is a tool exercised at Al Udeid Air Base that provides initial communications in the event our base is threatened,” said Spare.

This training prepares 379th ECS Airmen and their base partners to respond during potential real-world emergencies.

“I hope that our Airmen understand how impactful their role is in supporting the mission for enabling military operations across the [USCENTCOM area of responsibility],” she said. “Each member plays an integral role, whether he or she is supporting from the sidelines or is directly configuring and deploying the equipment.”

Spare highlighted her team’s resilience and adaptability as they have grown into their deployed roles. 

“Our Airmen have developed a different perspective,” she said. “At AUAB, they are directly supporting the warfighter initiative, whereas back home, they may not see the direct impacts they have on combat operations.” 

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kazuhito Ikematsu, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the agile communications team, leads and coordinates all internal 379th ECS training, as well as any collaborative training done with other base units, such as the 379th ELRS.

Ikematsu has worked on combat and tactical communications teams in Germany, Korea and Japan prior to deploying to Al Udeid AB.

“This is a higher operational tempo, and my first time in an NCOIC position,” he said.

Aside from developing and coordinating training, Ikematsu has stepped into a lead customer service role.

“Whenever units request support, it is my job to figure out the best equipment setups to get them the capabilities they are looking for,” he said. “I have a lot more control over how we configure these packages.”

Ikematsu said his experience here at Al Udeid is challenging him to work above and beyond what has been expected of him as a staff sergeant elsewhere.

“I’m doing the work of a technical or master sergeant and even getting some officer perspective,” he said.

This experience has given him a greater understanding of the overall scope of what goes into executing the 379th ECS mission.

“I feel like I have really grown into my role here,” said Ikematsu. “This has taught me how to better communicate up and down the chain of command, bridging any gaps in communication, so I can support our customers and advocate for my team.”

Diligent training, dedication to professional growth and commitment to collaboration by 379th ECS Airmen helps them provide these critical communication capabilities. 

“I’m always impressed with what this team accomplishes,” said Spare.