39 CS provides support to NATO mission

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eric Summers Jr.
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The United States, Germany and the Netherlands currently have Patriot batteries deployed throughout Turkey as a show of solidarity and support of NATO's commitment to the defense of its allies, and members of the 39th Air Base Wing are providing many vital services to NATO members who are here as part of the deployment.

Technicians from 39th Communications Squadron were hard at work constructing secure lines of communication throughout the area before the first cargo plane landed with troops and equipment from the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery unit from Fort Sill, Okla. in early January.

"Upon initial notification that U.S. Army personnel were arriving, the big thing we did was extend the Army (non-classified internet router) so they had service for their support facility," said Master Sgt. James Mitchell, 39th CS plans and programs section chief. "We were able to extend their Army network out to where they were bedded down. On top of that, we provided them Incirlik internet capability, voice over internet protocol and a secure network for them to operate until their manned support element could get here to stand up their own comm[unications]."

The extensive, but delicate work took approximately 10 hours from the time the U.S. Army set foot on the ground to completion. This process, which was duplicated for the Dutch contingent as well, involved connecting fiber-optic cables to the existing fiber infrastructure that runs throughout Incirlik to extend the services to facilities the U.S. Army occupied.

Along with setting up network capabilities, CS members also worked with a U.S. Army unit located in Germany to obtain secure network access to help the Soldiers fulfill their mission.

"We were able to work with the Army [communications] to tunnel the Army network through so they were able to use their home station accounts," Mitchell said. "Some of the other additional things that we did were work with the Dutch, Turkish and the U.S. Army de-conflicting frequencies to ensure none of the stuff they did or brought in would interfere with our systems."

An additional service they provided was communications security.

"Most of the people who deal with COMSEC, whether it's Army or Air Force, all operate under the same principals," Mitchell said. "So in order to satisfy our requirement, they just had to go over some basic training and guidelines."

Staff Sgt. Mary Grace Martin, 39th CS alternate communication security manager, and her office provide the joint allies with physical, digital, authentication and cryptic materials to provide a secure means of communication.

"We are supporting the Dutch and U.S. Army with their COMSEC that helps them for GPS and secured VOIP," Martin said. "With us supporting them, it allows them to get the information faster than if they had to receive it from back at home."

With communication being such a vital part of any operation, the 39th CS has spent more than 125 man-hours to meet the needs of this NATO endeavor.

"Everybody relies heavily upon communication. Whether it's to do the job or to communicate quickly back home to let you love ones know that you made it, it's a sense of pride and this is what we train for," Mitchell said. "It was a pretty cool experience being able to do that and show them that we care and we are here to support them in this joint effort."