Got Comm? the 271st Combat Communications Squadron does.

  • Published
  • By MSgt Michael Townsend
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing
In modern-day warfare, you can't do anything without communications. Just ask the members of the 271st Combat Communications Squadron who provided secure and non-secure voice and data communications for the participants of Global Patriot 2008 July 7-27 at Fort McCoy, WI..

Patriot is a large scale, plug-n-play exercise integrating U.S. Army, Air Force and coalition forces in a joint training environment. It is the National Guard Bureau's premier training exercise. Patriot is unique in that participating units shape the exercise based on their own specific mission essential tasks. This allows each unit to define their unique requirements and build them into the overall exercise scenario." The exercise provides realistic training and challenges the capabilities of the more than 45 Guard, active units, and Dutch and Canadian forces who participated this year. PATRIOT 2008 was held at Volk Field and Camp Ripley as well as Fort McCoy. Over 4,200 troops participated in this year's exercise.

The 271st's mission there was to provide secret internet protocol, non-secure internet protocol, global broadcast system services, and secure and non-secure voice and data, all to a bare base within 72 hours of notification of deployment.

When they deploy, the 271st are the phone company, the internet provider, the cell phone company--figuratively speaking, they are the lifeblood of communications. They employ numerous firewall, intrusion detection systems, routers programmed with access control lists, and military-encryption tools to ensure data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

"We are taking advantage of the exercise as a way of training our newer airmen in a more realistic training environment than we have at our home station. It's a great opportunity for them to learn how to do their jobs better and about how the Army does business," said Capt. Joseph Sullivan, 271st CBCS Unit Engineer. "We're learning to inter-operate with the Army. We've run into some technical issues and are resolving them, but our customers have been very satisfied with our work."

"This unit works hard and smart to get the job done," said Tech Sgt. Robert Blandy, superintendent of network infrastructure for the 271st.

The 271st has deployed numerous times in support of military operations and the War on Terror, to include the Bright Star Exercise in 1997 to Egypt, Balaklava, Turkey with the 4th Combat Communications Group, Al Jabber AB in Kuwait for Operation Southern Watch in 1998, Kyrgyzstan, Mantis AFB in Central Asia in 2001-2002, in support of Afghanistan operations. Al Dofra, United Arab Emerites, in 2005, and Operation Noble Eagle at home stations in at home station. This talented and dedicated group of Airmen has always stepped up to the plate to defend our nation's way of life, and will continue to be a major player in that defense for a long time to come.