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386 ECS and AFCENT A 6/7 E&I bolster communication capabilities, enduring presence

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dalton Williams, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs Office

Airmen from the 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron and Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) A 6/7 engineering and installation from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, recently worked alongside each other to upgrade communication infrastructure and reinforce a pillar of our enduring presence in Kuwait.

Equivalent to removing and replacing a backbone, doing construction on the communication lines themselves present a unique challenge. With these underground cables being pivotal to communications, each section had to take care to mitigate risk to not damage the communication capabilities currently being used for operations.

“In order to have the best utilization of the existing site here, we had to optimize the environment and the available site footprint,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Perez, AFCENT A 6/7 engineering and installation team chief. “Back home, you see a lot of the same things as cities get more dense. As they get more dense, you need to pull out a lot of utility infrastructure in order to make growth happen.”

In order to do this, it has been nothing short of a communication marvel. Multiple teams above and below ground worked in unison, resulting in hundreds of feet of cable running underground seamlessly. Hundreds of microscopic strands of new cable, each roughly the size of a human hair, were spliced together with surgical skill.

“One thing I find interesting is that we’re putting massive amounts of fiber into the ground and we're connecting thousands of users together in a massive network,” said Perez. “At the very end of the day, someone’s going to put their CAC into the computer and it’s either going to work or it’s not. They’ll never know how much goes into that infrastructure from point A to point B to make that happen. I love knowing that something like that is there.”

It’s this sense of job satisfaction that fuels the team, knowing that their hard work is right under the feet of many.

“The biggest thing for our team is that sense of job accomplishment, which is what drives a lot of morale,” said Tech. Sgt. John Hines, 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron cable and antenna systems NCOIC. “With something like this, it’s all about taking pride in your work, getting it done and enjoying it.”