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644th Combat Communication remains ready to respond

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The 644th Combat Communications Squadron Airmen are capable of rapidly deploying in various situations where communications have not been previously established such as air support operations, air base openings, humanitarian assistance missions and disaster relief efforts.

They are capable of quickly having people out the door after receiving a request for their assets, as was the case after Typhoon Haiyan swept through portions of Southeast Asia Nov. 8, 2013, devastating the Philippines and leaving thousands of people homeless.

"We deploy capabilities to (locations and) units that need it," said Maj. Patrick Smyth, 644th CBCS deputy commander. "We train for the times when we are needed, which could be anytime, and we can be there at a moment's notice."

The 644th CBCS is an expeditionary unit, aligned under the 36th Contingency Response Group, is able to rapidly deploy. The 36th CRG is intended to be a "first-in" force to secure an airfield and establish and maintain airfield operations.

"When the [36th CRG] deploys downrange, we leverage the comm flight of the 36th Mobility Response Squadron initially, then bring the more robust package that [644th CBCS] provides," said Col. Thomas "Doc" Livingston, 36th CRG commander. "The 644th provides enough communications capability such that, when we turn over operations to an air expeditionary wing, there are enough resources in place to support a large team such as a joint task force or long-term presence if needed."

Any time not spent supporting a contingency operation is spent on preparing the unit through training, said Lt. Col. Kato Martinez, 644th Combat Communications Squadron commander. Airmen are responsible for continuously having their equipment and themselves ready to leave on no-notice deployments.

"Combat comm is also unique in their ability to enhance the air base opening team," Livingston said. "They have the shoot-move-communicate skills needed to integrate with our defenders, and they have forklift driving skills to integrate with the aerial port team."

The squadron is also accountable for pre-positioned communications equipment, which remain stationary on pallets, ready to go where the 36th CRG goes.

Their three-full sized servers, which can provide communications support for 3,000 users, are continuously running to ensure the programs are always updated and no viruses or bugs have made their way into the computers. These servers can be packed by unplugging them and putting the covers over the body of the server in minutes.

The training and building of capabilities with the 36th CRG and commitment to the principles of expediency played a crucial role in ensuring CBCS Airmen are able to meet requirements in real-time, Martinez said.

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