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Combat comm integrates with Ninth AF during STAFFEX 18-6

Combat comm integrates with Ninth AF during STAFFEX 18-6

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Jeanneret, right, 5th Combat Communications Support Squadron cyber systems instructor, backs up after palletizing a generator as Staff Sgt. Michael Williams, 51st Combat Communications Squadron power production tech, guides him safely, Sept. 28, 2018, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. As part of the flexible communication package (FCP), the generator was one of many that ensured the Ninth Air Force’s forward joint task force (JTF) headquarters maintained power for the duration of Staff Exercise 18-6. The FCP consisted of four tents that housed the forward JTF headquarters, a communication tent, the communication antenna, and all equipment needed for the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dick)

Combat comm integrates with Ninth AF during STAFFEX 18-6

During the Ninth Air Force’s Staff Exercise (STAFFEX 18-6), the 5th Combat Communications Group (CCG) from Robins Air Force Base, Ga., integrated with Ninth AF headquarters staff to provide communications in a “deployed” environment, Sept. 26, 2018, Shaw AFB, S.C. The 5th CCG’s flexible communication package included four tents that offered operational workspace for forward joint task force headquarters, a communication tent, network capabilities, and additional capabilities the staff needed to perform its mission. In all, the 23 Airmen from 5th CCG brought two truckloads filled with nine pallets of equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dick)

Combat comm integrates with Ninth AF during STAFFEX 18-6

U.S. Airmen from the J4 Logistics Directorate and J1 Manpower and Personnel Directorate, front group, discuss exercise-related engineering issues during Ninth Air Force’s Staff Exercise (STAFFEX) 18-6, Sept. 26, 2018, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. During the STAFFEX , which simulated how a forward joint task force (JTF) headquarters would run, the Ninth Air Force staff determined the course of action for a variety of problem sets to achieve goals and accomplish an exercise scenario. For this STAFFEX, JTF forward members held meetings in a “deployed” environment using tents included in a flexible communication package provided by the 5th Combat Communications Group from Robins AFB, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dick) The box blur was used for operational security reasons.

Combat comm integrates with Ninth AF during STAFFEX 18-6

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgts. Kyle Mangold, back, and Joshua Tanner, 51st Combat Communications Squadron (CBCS) radio frequency transmissions systems techs, pack up a large aperture antenna following the conclusion of Staff Exercise 18-6, Sept. 28, 2018, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. As part of the flexible communication package (FCP), the antenna provided internet services to the Ninth Air Force’s forward joint task force (JTF) headquarters for the duration of the exercise. The FCP supported not only network capabilities but voice and data as well, providing a “deployed” location for the forward JTF headquarters staff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dick)

Combat comm integrates with Ninth AF during STAFFEX 18-6

U.S. Airmen with the 5th Combat Communications Group (CCG) from Robins Air Force Base, Ga., secure a pallet following the conclusion of Staff Exercise (STAFFEX 18-6), Sept. 28, 2018, Shaw AFB, S.C. The pallet comprised of various pieces of network equipment that provided communication support to the forward Ninth Air Force joint task force headquarters during the exercise. To bring all of the equipment needed for the STAFFEX, the 5th CCG drove two truckloads with nine pallets from Robins. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dick)

Combat comm integrates with Ninth AF during STAFFEX 18-6

Allen Wilkinson, left, and U.S. Air Force Capt. Jessica White, Ninth Air Force Staff Exercise (STAFFEX) 18-6 Knowledge Management planners, discuss the STAFFEX battle rhythm for the exercise scenario, Sept. 26, 2018, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. The knowledge managers compile the working groups, boards, update briefs and more using inputs from the staff. The planners then help synchronize the staff’s schedule with the higher headquarters commander’s battle rhythm to ensure all major actions and meetings are staffed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dick) The box blur was used for operational security reasons.

Combat comm integrates with Ninth AF during STAFFEX 18-6

U.S. Air Force Capt. Adam Byne, left, 51st Combat Communications Squadron (CBCS) network operations flight commander and site commander for the staff exercise, and 2nd Lt. Michael Hollis, 51st CBCS network operations flight officer in charge, disassemble the forward joint task force headquarters tents after Staff Exercise (STAFFEX) 18-6 concludes, Sept. 28, 2018, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. The tents were part of a flexible communication package the 5th Combat Communications Group, out of Robins AFB, Ga., provided for the exercise and included four tents for the main area, as well as a communication tent and supporting equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dick)

Combat comm integrates with Ninth AF during STAFFEX 18-6

U.S. Airmen with the 5th Combat Communications Group (CCG) from Robins Air Force Base, Ga., tear down the flexible communication package provided for the Ninth Air Force’s Staff Exercise (STAFFEX) 18-6 at the forward joint task force (JTF) headquarters, Sept. 28, 2018, Shaw AFB, S.C. The 5th CCG comprises of three squadrons: the 51st Combat Communications Squadron (CBCS), the 52nd CBCS and the 5th Combat Communications Supply Squadron that includes the Air Force Engineering and Technical Services (AFETS). In total, 23 Airmen, including two civilians from AFETS, participated in the STAFFEX by providing the communication platforms and support necessary for communication operations in a “deployed” location. Going forward, the 5th CBCG will be in an integral part of Ninth AF for not only future staff exercises, but also when Ninth AF is certified as a JTF-capable headquarters and is tasked to perform its joint mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Dick)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --

Headquarters Ninth Air Force trained with an integral communication piece of a joint task force (JTF) headquarters before its certification event in December during Staff Exercise (STAFFEX) 18-6 Sept. 24 through 28.

 

For this round, the 5th Combat Communications Group (CCG) from Robins AFB, Georgia, provided a communication package to help Ninth AF staff exercise in a more “deployed” environment.

“We were the integrated deployable communication for Ninth AF as they transition to a JTF-capable headquarters,” said Capt. Adam Byne, 51st Combat Communications Squadron network operations flight commander and site commander for the STAFFEX. “This was our first iteration for deploying what this JTF [communication package] will be; it’s the initial fielding of what [it will look like].”

For the 5th CCG, this STAFFEX also supplied the opportunity to “showcase a new concept called FCP [flexible communication package] that allows us to … provide a scalable and flexible solution to a range of military options,” Byne explained.

Along with the 51st CBCS, two other squadrons made up the 5th CCG for this exercise -- the 5th Combat Communications Support Squadron that includes civilians from the AF Engineering and Technical Services and the 52nd CBCS. In total, 23 5th CCG Airmen brought two trucks worth of equipment that included nine pallets in all. From day one, the Airmen hit the ground running.

“We got here at 2 p.m. and immediately started setting up,” said Tech. Sgt. Tom Parks, 52nd CBCS radio frequency transmissions system technician who filled several lead roles during the STAFFEX.

Once the night crew went on shift, they had to work against the elements to get set up in time for the exercise.

“We still had remnants of Hurricane Florence, and in between storm surges, we were out there driving rods and getting power set up while in the rain,” Parks continued.

In addition to power and a communication tent, the 5th CCG provided four large tents that comprised the forward JTF headquarters area and a variety of network, voice and data support.

According to Parks, planning also included field training at Robins before the STAFFEX to test the FCP and ensure it would work for the exercise.

Both units will continue to plan and coordinate collectively as they move toward the December exercise. That event will certify Ninth AF as having initial operating capability as a JTF-capable headquarters, codifying everything the unit worked on in the past year after being tasked by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF).

“We’ve made significant progress on our journey to develop exceptional leaders who can rapidly integrate into and lead joint teams, and we are within weeks of certifying Ninth Air Force as a core joint task force headquarters and will offer it to the chairman and secretary of defense as part of their new dynamic force employment model,” said CSAF Gen. David L. Goldfein at the September 2018 Air Force Association Air, Space, & Cyber Conference.

The certification events is scheduled for Dec. 9 through 14 and will include Guard and Reserve components, sister service partners, and international partners.