Multi-capable Airmen exercise ACE Communications skills

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sergeant Anthony Plyler
  • 52nd FW Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to the 52nd Communications Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, traveled to Kleine Brogel Air Base, Belgium, March 7, 2023, for an expeditionary communications exercise.

The two-day event gave Client Systems, Network Operations and Radio Frequency Airmen the chance to rapidly set up a fully operational Forward Operating Site (FOS). In addition, a quality assurance representative and a communications planner were present.

“Our primary objectives are to ensure we train, equip and sustain our Airmen to execute any expeditionary communications mission assigned to our flight,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew Bradford, 52nd Communications Squadron agile combat employment noncommissioned officer in charge. “Regardless of their Information Technology background, our goal is to transform team members into multi-capable Airmen."

During the training, the team utilized air-to-round and land mobile radios, secure and non-secure mobile voice, and ultra-high frequency antennas, as well as a variety of networks to include NATO coalition partner networks.
"At Spangdahlem we have a dedicated ACE work center," said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Frederick Mayhew, 52nd Communications Squadron radio frequency transmission systems NCO in charge. “On top of our Agile Combat Readiness team members, we also have alternate ACE Airmen sprinkled throughout the squadron who are ready to go at a moment's notice.”

The exercise began with the more experienced individuals quickly setting up the site. Once that had been accomplished, two teams of four people performed the setup while receiving only verbal assistance from subject matter experts.

“The training was great as it gave us the opportunity, outside of the office, to see how the kits work,” Senior Airmen Curtis Culpepper, 52nd Communications Squadron ACE client systems lead. “Because of this, our agile members were able to get on-the-job training before ever getting tasked with a real-world mission.”

Reservists from Minnesota’s 934th Airlift Wing also benefited from the exercise, as members from their expeditionary communications team were on-hand to see what an established team can do and to learn more about the equipment being utilized.
“The team here at Spangdahlem is an example of what we want to be as a Reserve special missions flight,” said U.S. Air Force Reserve Maj. Stan Naspinski, 934th Communications Squadron, special missions flight commander. “Attending the training allowed us to get answers to questions we had, and we were able to see their complete setup and transport methods used. We’ve visited a number of special missions flights, and the team here at Spangdahlem is the most advanced.”

In 2022, Spangdahlem Air Base was the first in USAFE to receive a Staff Assisted Visit (SAV), and the wing is helping shape the standard for future ACE teams within the theater.