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Communications squadron keeps Airmen connected

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rito Smith
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron reaches out and touches every part of the overall wing mission from maintaining communications switches and infrastructure to the network operations center and planning teams.

Communications is the ability to transfer data across the installation in a timely and efficient manner. Weapons systems rely of the transference of data from classified to unclassified data.

“Communications security is such a big part of what we do here,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Osborne, 455th ECS commander. “When we have a joint terminal air controller that needs to talk to a pilot with a bomb on the rails, communications let them make sure we get the right bad guys.”

As the only Air Force communications squadron in Afghanistan, the 455th ECS comprises Airmen from seven different career fields who work together to ensure they quietly and professionally support the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing and beyond.

The Air Force specialty careers within the squadron include knowledge operations management, cyber systems operations, cyber surety, client systems, cyber transport systems, RF transmission systems, and cable and antenna systems. The Airmen train at their home stations in order to provide top-notch deployed communications support to help the wing execute its counterterrorism mission.

“I feel strongly about the mission here,” said Senior Master Sgt. Greg Baird, 455th ECS operations flight chief. “We are providing the ability to keep our enemies at bay here instead of at home.”

The 455th ECS provides communications support for military installations at Bagram, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Kabul.

“Every operation relies on some sort of movement of data,” Baird said. “Because of that, how efficiently we do our job determines how efficiently the wing can complete their mission.”

The communications Airmen recently incorporated a morale WiFi initiative allowing Airmen the opportunity to stay connected with their loved ones back home while maintaining focus on the mission.

“We give them the ability to reach out and stay in contact with the rest of the world,” Baird said. “We have determined that it’s an important part of morale and helps keep the fighting spirit alive in each Airman.”

From maintaining morale WiFi enabling Airmen to reach out to friends and family, or work-related web support that helps Airmen do their jobs, the 455th ECS’s priority is to keep the wing connected.

“We are about connecting people, whether that means we have to work on fiber optics between buildings or in a dusty communications closet in some corner of Bagram,” Osborne said. “We live in an information age, and that connectivity matters more and more each day.”