by Senior Airman Christina Bozeman, 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, Dobbins Air Reserve Base
Laptops, wireless internet and video teleconferencing: all of the necessary factors that are required to be up-to-date when it comes to electronic interaction.
The 94th Communications Squadron, until recently, the 94th Communications Flight, at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, encompasses every aspect of electronics and then some, especially in this age's thirst to be connected.
The comm flight used to be 94th Combat Communications. However combat comm left Dobbins Air Reserve Base, along with their tasking. Air Force Reserve Command saw the need for a comm flight mission and out of that, need and new growth grew into the comm squadron.
"When combat comm, left, it created a vacuum," explained Senior Master Sgt. Tommy Sams, 94th Comm Squadron readiness air reserve technician. "There was no mission."
Joint Incident Site Communication Capability, or JISCC, is their new mission and is the reason the comm flight changed to comm squadron Jan. 1.
"We've more than doubled in size in the last year," said Senior Master Sgt. Claudia Martin, 94th Communications Squadron knowledge operations manager.
During the last three years, the comm squadron has grown from 19 to 53 members, and that amount qualified them to be upgraded to squadron level.
JISCC consists of a satellite system that provides internet capability. It also provides ground to air and ground to ground communications. Those communications allow airmen to talk to airplanes, and vise versa. We can talk to other ground to ground points, which include High Frequency, Ultra High Frequency and Very High Frequency.
Confused yet? Don't worry, because the comm squardon isn't; it's their job to understand.
The squadron can be ready in 48 to 72 hours notice and, once they reach their destination, they can be operational within two hours.
"We train for real world; the big picture," said Master Sgt. Debbie Laviolette, 94th Communications Squadron work center supervisor. "That's the reason this squadron exists."
The squadron was invited to participate and do just that during Task Force Razorback in West Helena, Ark., last June. TFRB was the first opportunity to put the JISCC to the test.
"We're your one-stop-shop for communication," said Sams.
Comm squadron provided direct support to the Army and Navy in the forms of video, tele-conferencing and cyber café. The TFRB was a joint force military mission to provide medical, dental, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinarian services to the depressed of the Delta region in Arkansas. There are five cities in the Delta region on the Eastern side. The total economic impact to that area was equivalent to 1.5 million dollars. Teams from comm squadron were deployed in two different waves over a month period. The mission ran so smoothly that comm squadron was invited by the Air National Guard to participate in a similar exercise again later this year in Alabama.
"Training is a huge intiative for Airmen to step up and prove themselves," stated Laviolette. "A humanitarian feel creates motivation in a training status."
In addition to communication support, the comm squadron also offered support for Army and Navy members, providing the ability to keep in touch with family while on the mission through the cyber café. That's a luxury that the Army and Navy didn't think would be provided.
The squadron is also responsible for training the wing Knowledge Operation Managers (KOM) and the reserve and civilian administrative assistants that perform KOM duties as well.
All this practice is in lieu of when the squadron will be called up at a moment's notice to support the internal part of any man-made or natural disaster. Their unit is a lightweight, highly mobile crux in any kind of emergency.
Comm squadron is embracing their new mission, and, moreover, showing that they have what it takes.
"We're going to make a name for ourselves AFRC wide," proclaimed Laviolette. "We have a lot of talent."