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644: Getting "ready for war!" CBCS conduct full deployment exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Airlifting pallets, a simulated flight, full battle-rattle, mortars and firefights; are all ingredients of a full-blown Air Force combat com squadron exercise.

The 644th Combat Communication Squadron is conducting a field training exercise in Guam from April 16 to 27, testing their ability to build a communications base in a bare environment while responding to several combat scenarios.

This is the first the squadron will exercise all deployment phases to improve their war fighting capabilities.

"Usually we focus on one or two phases," said Tech. Sgt. Marcellas Walker, 644 CBCS Exercise Evaluation Team member. "And just do a quick run through for the rest because we're familiar with it. We normally begin strong with trying to get out the door, and just close up shop near the end. But this particular (field training exercise) we're going to do all three phases completely. We're going to make everybody do everything that's supposed to be done."

Despite the new format and requirements, the team's morale has been high. The Airmen have been responsive and adaptive to situations they were given.

"They're doing [well] and they're very motivated," Sergeant Walker said. "This FTX is one of the first exercises where we go through all the phases of deployment; from getting out the door, to doing our job in the field."

Sergeant Walker said that timelines are important when it comes to executing a mission. If it is not started properly, then the mission is behind. Also, in this exercise the team is aiming to organize their timeline and sequence of events so they can get out the door in a timely manner.

Despite areas of improvement and the difficulty presented by a bare base environment, Capt. Miguel Gonzalez, 644 CBCS deputy commander, and exercise site commander, said that the team's performance has been more than adequate.

"We have essentially met all the deadlines up to this point," he said. "We've shattered the deadline to connect to the satellite. In less than 12 hours we've been able to get the bulk of our work done. Right now we're meeting our communications goals very well. "

"It's the first time we've actually used some of those pieces of equipment," he continued. "Specifically the modems the satellite communication folks are using. It's the first time we've ever exercised it in the field. We've brought it up once in the office but never in a combat environment like this."

All the days of planning, preparation and execution are set to achieve mission goals and make sure that the team is ready and well equipped for tomorrow's fight.

"The goal of this exercise is to succeed and be able to deploy successfully," said Sergeant Walker. "This means accomplishing all three phases and get everybody home safely. In the training environment we have here we're going to try to present different obstacles that will require them to act accordingly, like conduct self aid and buddy care and operate in austere environments."

"We aim to validate our procedures," said Captain Gonzalez. "We've been working on documenting them so that when the new people come in they can pick up the procedures and know what they need to do. We have gotten it down on paper and now it's a matter of validating those procedures by bringing it out to the field."

With still couple of days of training left in the field the 644 CBCS will be faced with scenarios that they would have to solve, accomplish and survive. These scenarios range from mortar attacks to fire fights and even equipment malfunctions.

"We're planning some force protection,"said Captain Gonzalez. "And things that will help protect and prepare us for what is to come with the combat environment. We've got good, smart guys in here and great team effort. They're doing everything we've ask of them. We are ready."