BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan --
A vast, global communications network is one of the many things that makes the U.S. Air Force the most powerful on the planet.
Whether it's repairing a network hub or installing fiber-optic cables or making sure the underlying infrastructure of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan network is operating properly, it is the expertise of Staff Sgt. Brandon Hasegawa, 455th Expeditionary Communication Squadron cyber transport technician, who ensures the wing’s communications systems are up and running.
“Here at BAF, my job is to help maintain and manage the base’s non-secure internet protocol router, secret internet protocol router and the Comprehensive Airman Fitness network,” said Hasegawa. “Additionally, we also deal with port activations, telephones, voice over internet protocol and voice over secure internet protocol.”
Day to day, Hasegawa says he stays busy dealing with vulnerability issues, testing and troubleshooting network systems equipment as well as port activations.
“People move computers around a lot here, so we get a lot of tickets for moves,” said Hasegawa. “If a port is disabled, we have to reactivate it. We are also responsible for configuring all your network devices, switches, routers, encryption devices on SIPR and telephone systems. Anything communications related, we take care of it.”
According to Senior Master Sgt. Michael Erb, 455th ECS superintendent, Hasegawa is one of 455th ECS unsung heroes in the squadron. He took on an important role during some of the biggest projects that the squadron undertook this rotation.
“His work center is traditionally in the background when you think about the communication squadron, but it is one of the most crucial,” said Erb. “He is the NCOIC of our infrastructure shop and is charged with maintaining and upgrading all the network equipment that connects everyone together and makes those communications that are so vital to the wing's function.
‘Not only has he managed our network services flawlessly, he also took on the task of deploying and improving the CAFnet solution here on BAF. Hasegawa and his team deployed over 200 new access points throughout 22 Air Force dorms here on BAF and then tirelessly worked to tune the signals so everyone gets reception in their rooms.”
Hailing from Davis, Calif., Hasegawa is currently deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho and has been in the Air Force for five years.
“My family has a big military tradition, so I wanted to follow those who served before me,” said Hasegawa. “All of my grandfathers as well as my dad were prior Air Force, so that got me thinking about it. I saw what a perfect opportunity it was and how much I can learn, so I decided to join.”
No stranger to the deployed life, Hasegawa is currently serving on his second, but his first in this area of responsibility.
“This isn’t my first deployment, so I wasn’t that nervous,” said Hasegawa. “It is a little bit different being in a combat zone, being that my first deployment was to United Arab Emirates..”
The mission of the 455th ECS is to defend, support and deliver airpower through the cyber domain.
“Our job is important because no matter which unit you are a part of, you have communications, ” said Hasegawa. “Whether it be NIPR SIPR or CAFNet, you’re going to need us. Without the 455th ECS, there is no communication back and forth for work or reaching back to family and friends. We touch every unit here, so to see how we impact overall mission success here has been great.”