Story by Amn Wynndermere Shaw on 04/07/2019The 264th Combat Communications Squadron, Illinois Air National Guard, took 26 personnel to the Combat Communications Rodeo March 4 to 14 and their performance brought home the title of 2019 champions.
The 5th Combat Communications Group hosted the CCR at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Personnel who took part in this event were from multiple specialties that included client systems, cyber transport, cyber operations, cyber security, radio frequency transmissions, power productions and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Other units including the active duty and Reserve components came from across the country to participate.
The CCR is a multifaceted training initiative that combines classroom instruction with in-the-field installation and operations. Members receive classroom training on newer technology and equipment such as the GATR antenna, Harris radios that include multiple waveforms, the Advanced Medium Mobile Power Source generator and program and office training.
Air Force Master Sgt. Jennifer M. Rice, a cyber systems superintendent assigned to the 264th CBCS here, who attended the rodeo said the primary objectives of the event were to improve proficiency in the installation, engineering, maintenance, operation, management of assigned tactical communications and implement contingency procedures.
The rodeo culminated in a multi-day communications exercise, where units were evaluated on their ability to perform their mission within the assigned scenario and adapt to conditions injected by a "white cell".
The 264th CBCS exercised its Medium Communications Package, providing voice and data services to the exercise's Air Command and Control Center.
Senior Master Sgt. Lucas M. Creasy, a cyber operations superintendent also assigned to the 264th, said the training the unit received was very beneficial.
"The dedication of our Airmen and support of the 182nd [Airlift Wing] allows us to complete our missions effectively, whether that is a training exercise or in a deployed location," he said. "Being able to integrate with other CBCS's and train together greatly increased our ability to provide tactical communications as a total force."
This exercise allowed Airmen the opportunity to gain more knowledge about combat-communication scenarios and how to perform under the challenge, Rice said.
"For some, it was the first time being part of turning an empty field into a fully functional site," she said. "We provided services to a real-world customer, which is often difficult to replicate in a training environment."
At the end of the rodeo, the 5th CCG's quality assurance team and senior exercise leadership named the 264th CBCS champion.
Attending this training brought personnel back with knowledge and experience. Rice said they plan on continuing to participate the following years to their best extent.
"We are proud to be recognized as champion out of the entire total force community," said Rice.