Successful deployment shapes future training for all ACS units
By Senior Airman Emmanuel Santiago, 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
/ Published July 10, 2014
NATIONAL GUARD TRAINING CENTER - Sea Girt, N.J. -- Airmen from the 103rd Air Control Squadron deployed to the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt, N.J., June 8 - 18, where they successfully established remote connectivity to specific simulation systems located in Connecticut, an achievement that, according to unit leadership, had never been accomplished before by any air control squadron.
The deployment began with an advanced echelon team, or ADVON, led by Lt. Col. John Breisler and 2nd Lt. Fred Bond, both assigned to the 103rd Air Control Squadron, which left for Sea Girt on June 5 to prepare for the arrival of the bulk of the unit's Airmen, who departed on June 8.
"ADVON and main body convoy arrivals at the tactical site were smooth and efficient," said Lt. Col. John Breisler, who served as the deployment's chief of maintenance. "The convoy commanders managed their respective convoys well; this is significant considering the number of newer unit members in the convoys."
The mission was to deploy much of the unit's equipment and personnel via convoy to establish a functional tactical site in the field. From there the goal was to utilize radio, satellite and various theater deployable communication systems to connect with multiple locations, including their own home station in Orange, Conn., where some of the unit's Airmen remained and participated.
The unit is trained and equipped to establish largely self-sufficient tactical sites from which they provide command and control support to military aircraft. From establishing generator power and building tents from which to work, to connecting operations modules to remote radar feeds and setting up on-site communications, a deployment like this is a significant undertaking. But the men and women of the 103rd Air Control Squadron are no strangers to these tasks, having supported missions throughout Southwest Asia in recent years.
The major challenge was establishing and maintaining connectivity with the unit's Control and Reporting Center Simulation Package, commonly referred to as the CSP, located back in Connecticut. The system enables operators to remotely inject simulated aircraft and situations into realistic tactical air control training scenarios so Airmen can interact with them from the field.
After nine months of preparation and with 80 percent of the squadron deployed in field conditions, the Airmen of the 103rd Air Control Squadron were able to establish the necessary connections, receiving data from the simulation package and from as far away as Iowa to control two designated training air spaces in which they created simulated midair scenarios such as refueling, close air support and aircraft detection in the designated locations.
"A team effort by dedicated professionals," said Lt. Col. William Neri, commander of the 103rd Air Control Squadron.
Such a mission took effort from personnel of all ranks, including Airman 1st Class Kyle Romitti, a maintainer assigned to the squadron, who along with his fellow Airmen took turns on three main shifts to monitor the squadron's 24-hour satellite connectivity.
"It's interesting, and it's nice to know that we have such a big role in what's going on here; without us, there's no communication," said Romitti.
The unit's success in remotely connecting with their CSP will be documented and eventually be used as a template for all air control squadrons, said Breisler.
"There was no approved method of using the CRC Simulation Package for field training before this deployment," said Breisler. "Thanks to a tremendous amount of work from our folks, the 103rd Air Control Squadron paved the way for all active-duty and Guard units, our proven process will set the new standard."