644th Combat communications keep warfighters connected
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam--The mission of the 644th Combat Communications Squadron, the only Air Force CBCS in the Pacific region, is to rapidly deploy and set up communications for other members to ensure mission readiness.
The 644th CBCS, who embeds with the 36th Contingency Response Group, have a mission to provide communication for units ranging from 50 to 3,000 members, depending on operational needs.
Currently the 644th CBCS Airmen are providing assistance to the 36th CRG, who are responsible for providing airfield capabilities in Nepal after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the country April 25. The assistance from the 644th CBCS has been ongoing as Nepal suffered another recent powerful earthquake May 12.
"The CRG squadron has their own integrated communications element," said Senior Master Sgt. Robbie Buck, 644th CBCS network operations flight chief. "However their requirements in Nepal demand additional support, so we are providing the equipment and the manpower to be able to assist them."
The 644th CBCS is composed of four flights, each with their specialized tasks that enable them to support disasters such as the earthquake in Nepal. Although there are specialized flights in the 644th CBCS, they train together frequently to ensure the Airmen are ready to deploy at any time.
When we were called upon to respond to the disaster in Nepal we had everything ready to go, said Staff Sgt. Simon Alejandro, 644th CBCS supervisor for radio frequency transmission systems.
The 644th CBCS leadership wants to ensure their team is prepared for any unexpected contingency which is why they frequently train on the communications equipment, stay up to date on their combat skills training and are always prepared for any upcoming exercises, said Capt. Jason Silva, 644th CBCS director of operations.
"Normal days of training involve training with the respective flights on the respective equipment to ensure proficiency," Alejandro said. "When we do those operational exercises, everybody's putting their best foot forward and the mission gets done."
Part of their training includes keeping accountability for an extensive array of communications equipment, which they keep on pallets weighing anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 pounds. The equipment is prepackaged, ready to load onto aircraft to deploy anywhere in the world and provide full communication connections for a bare-base setup.
Other communication equipment includes flyaway kits, which are small communications packages that contain needed supplies of laptops and phones, Buck said. Other packages range in size, the largest being capable of supporting 3,000 users.
Being fully prepared to deploy at a moment's notice with mission essential equipment is the daily focus for the 644th CBCS Airmen.
Their support missions often include travel to many countries around the world, Alejandro said. His assignments so far have taken him to countries such as Malaysia, Burma, Philippines, and Japan.
"When people are tasked on missions, they grow through experiences and bring back knowledge," Silva said. "This helps the unit improve and allows them to constantly evolve."
"We go everywhere in PACAF," Alejandro said. "Sometimes it's difficult to see the importance of what we do from a base prospective. When we have the opportunity to deploy and support exercises, it's rewarding to see how we fit into the grand scheme of things."