Conn. Guard Supports Inauguration
By Capt. Bryon M. Turner, 103rd Airlift Wing
/ Published February 12, 2009
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, MD. -- Twelve members of the Conn. National Guard's Joint Incident Site Communications Capability team successfully completed the state's first real world deployment of the JISCC system while providing communications capabilities to contingency operations in direct support of the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration.
"We are attached to Joint Task Force District of Columbia," said Maj. John Warren, commander, 103rd Air Communications Squadron. "Our mission is to help provide 100 percent reliable and redundant communications to the task force and facilitate command and control, operations, administrative, and logistical functions in support of the inauguration as needed."
Each state and territorial National Guard is equipped with a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability system which provides first responders with robust communication capabilities.
"The JISCC enables local, state and federal agencies to communicate with each other via satellite, radio, telephone, and internet connectivity, while conducting operations in the field," said Warren.
The Connecticut team served as part of a complex communications web spread around the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area, serving on a contingency operations posture, ready to move forward and provide additional mission critical communications support within an hour of notification should the need arise, said Warren.
"There's over 9,000 Army and Air National Guard troops supporting this, and they need to communicate," said Senior Master Sgt. Scott Brew, NCOIC of the Conn. JISCC team. "This really makes it all happen."
Personnel from the 103rd Air Operations Group, the 103rd Communications Squadron, the 103rd Air Control Squadron, the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron, and the Conn. Army National Guard joined JISCC teams from 11 other states and territories in the national capital region to provide equipment and technical support.
"Joint operations are the way to go, especially for a mission like this," said Warren. The Connecticut team, "...melded together incredibly to support the mission."
"We all kind of mesh together as one and there isn't a difference between the Army and Air, Bradley or Orange," said Master Sgt. Keith Haessley, ground radio supervisor with the 103rd Air Control Squadron. "It just works."
The presidential inauguration made for an interesting first deployment opportunity for the JISCC team. Fortunately, the JISCC team was fully trained, motivated and prepared for the mission, said Warren.
"Everybody has been around enough that we all have done one job or the other, so you could just be put into any slot and go do your thing," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Sullivan, information specialist with Connecticut's Joint Force Headquarters.
"This is the first true test of the equipment for us. We haven't deployed it before; it's a pretty big deal to get everybody out of the state and on a live mission," said Brew. "It will be good to have our state out here and involved."
The historic significance of this mission was not lost on the members of Connecticut's JISCC team.
"I am happy to be a part of this operation, it will be remembered as a historic event," said Tech. Sgt. Louis Manfredi, a firefighter with the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron, chosen for the team for his communications experience earned as a former radio specialist with the 103rd Communications Squadron. "I will be able to look back and say I was a part of history."