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644th CBCS conducts Dragon Thunder exercise

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Under a sea of camouflage netting in tents filled with towers of electronic equipment, Airmen from the 644th Combat Communications Squadron sharpened their expeditionary skills during "Dragon Thunder," a field training exercise set in the fictional location, "Guamania," Nov. 17-21 here. 

The 644th CBCS showcases a diverse array of career fields, ranging from network control center operators to electrical power production technicians. 

"The mission of the 644th CBCS is to provide communication capabilities for combatant commanders as well as the Airmen in our area of responsibility," said Capt. Michael Turner, 644th CBCS network operations flight commander. "The 644th CBCS is a self-sufficient organization that provides its own power and shelters, and can deploy to a bare-base location and set up shop within 24 hours." 

Some of the capabilities the 644th CBCS provides include secure and unsecure ultra high frequency communications, land mobile radio communications, SIPRNET and NIPRNET email access, DSN secure and unsecure phone lines and satellite communication links which transfer the data to its destination. 

According to Captain Turner, the squadron's network control center can support up to 1,000 users at any given time and up to eight telephone switchboards can support more than 2,500 users. The squadron also provides a global broadcast satellite, which serves a dual-role as a link to news channels and as a file server. 

While performing day-to-day tasks in austere conditions may not be easy, Airmen from the 644th CBCS embrace the challenge. 

"Our PT program is geared to groom us to function even in the most difficult conditions," Captain Turner said. "Combat readiness is always at the forefront. We're always on that leash. Everyone's aware of the timelines and ready to deploy at a moment's notice." 

When it comes to keeping people in the communications loop, the Airmen of the 644th CBCS live true to the squadron motto - "Ready for War!" 

"This exercise lets us know all the challenges we may face when we come out into the field," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Wilson. "It shows us the effectiveness of our extensive training and lessons learned from any hiccups along the way. This is the best way to actually prepare yourself for future missions that we may not see as well without the lessons learned from these field training exercises."