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Engineering, installations team keeps missions running at airfield in Afghanistan

By By Senior Airman Cierra Presentado, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

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July 13, 2015 — BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan, July 13, 2015 – Airmen deployed here with the 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron ensure all network systems impacting missions from intelligence to NATO force communications remain active.

The engineering and installations flight is a seven-man team forward deployed from Al Udied Air Base, Qatar. The team has been on BAF for five months completing various projects assigned by the Cyber Infrastructure Planning System.

“Basically what we do is install fiber and copper cables throughout the base supporting all essential missions,” said Senior Master Sgt. Thomas Taylor, 455 Expeditionary Communications Squadron cable and antenna systems installer team chief. “Our projects support the unclassified and classified networks, the flying and intel missions and more.”

Part of the team’s job here is to connect one side of the base to the other by installing and connecting cables throughout a bay system. Once the installations are complete, the team then turns over the project to the cable communications shop.

“We get all the projects up and running; my team goes out and installs the cables at different locations around the base and after we complete our task then we hand it off to another shop,” said Tech Sgt. John Hartline, 455th ECS cable and antenna installations installer team chief. “We connect the west side to the east side through cable systems; it’s a tough job but our team gets it done.”

One of the main projects the team completed here ensures the airfield stays open.

“Our projects not only affect the network systems, but it actually also impacts the airfield as well,” Taylor said. “We install such diverse networks that our system really impacts the entire base as a whole. Also, any information that passes from us to NATO forces travels along the fiber and copper lines we install.”

Members of the team are in the Air National Guard and so are used to seeing each other once a month, but here in a deployed location they get to interact and work together on a daily basis.

“It’s a nice experience to get to see my co-workers every day; it’s a lot different from back home,” Hartline said. “We’re a small team but we work well together and make a great team, it’s great to be able to serve here with them.”

The team will wrap up their mission here and redeploy to Al Udied later this month.