41 EECS: Practice Makes Perfect

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron conducted a rapid employment, defense and survivability exercise here, Nov. 28.

This exercise marks the first time the squadron practiced mission execution to this extent, following a shift in focus to contingency plans that may require relocation. 

“The purpose of this exercise was to demonstrate our ability to rapidly evacuate our aircraft and personnel in a very limited amount of time while simultaneously building and fostering relationships with other base agencies capable of supporting us,” said Capt. Brittany Monio, 41st EECS EC-130H Compass Call pilot. “As with any emergency drill, practicing the actual movement of our assets helps ensure preparedness should a real-world emergency take place. It also affords us the opportunity to identify any weaknesses or potential shortfalls with current plans.”

The mission of the 41st EECS is to provide specialized electronic warfare through electronic attack, disrupting enemy communications and limiting adversary coordination, said Lt. Col. Jarreau Jones, 41st EECS commander. The squadron accomplishes this using the EC-130H Compass Call, a heavily modified C-130 platform that specializes in electronic warfare and has an essentially unlimited range thanks to its aerial refueling capability.

“We’re primarily tasked with executing counter-communications, counter-radar, counter-unmanned aerial system, and counter-navigation against adversaries,” explained Monio. “Compass Call often works with other air assets to coordinate the suppression of enemy air defenses through various electronic attack methods, and our electronic warfare systems are both agile and modifiable based on mission requirements.”

In addition to the standard C-130H flight crew including two pilots, a navigator, and a flight engineer, Compass Call crews are comprised of a mission crew commander, a mission crew supervisor, an airborne maintenance technician, an airborne signals analyst, and multiple airborne cryptologic language analysts.

“Compass Call is a unique asset in that we fly with a number of Defense Language Institute-trained linguists, which allows us to work dynamically across multiple areas of responsibility,” said Monio.

Working across multiple areas of responsibility requires solid working relationships with maintenance crews in order to keep the Compass Call in top condition. Monio credits success both with this exercise and with daily operations in part to the close working relationship between the 41st EECS and the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft maintenance Squadron.

“We work side by side back home and completing exercises of this nature while deployed is a great opportunity for us to continue to strengthen our relationship and really reinforce our squadron priorities: Develop the Squadron, Execute our Mission, and Be Better,” said Monio. “Without maintenance, we simply wouldn’t be able to accomplish our mission; they’re an integral part to making sure we can get off the ground quickly and safely.”

Whether preparing for daily operations or the worst-case scenario, thorough and realistic exercises ensure squadrons like the 41st EECS and 380th EAMXS are ready to go at a moment’s notice.

“We tried to make it as realistic as possible while ensuring both the flight crews and maintenance crew members were briefed and ready with sufficient knowledge about the exercise scenario to ensure everyone would be prepped to go once the exercise alert notification was given,” said Monio. “Planning flights in such a quick manner is a large deviation from normal but our crews executed very safely and effectively. It was a huge success for us overall and we have all the confidence that we’re a very capable squadron as a whole.”