Holding down the fort

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kyle Gese
  • 52 Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force graduates approximately 36,000 Airmen from basic military training each year.

The training never stops. The Air Force upholds high standards and training requirements to maintain mission readiness and ensure that Airmen are fully capable of carrying out core tasks and are prepared to deploy.

At Spangdahlem, the 606th Air Control Squadron is a self-contained mobile combat unit that provides ground-to-air communication to combat pilots. As part of the rigorous efforts required for the 606th's upcoming deployment, Airmen from 21 different specialties have undergone numerous training programs, a combat readiness training course, weapons training and various emergency medical classes.

The Airmen must know the basics of maintaining their equipment and make sure they are ready for their deployment to Southwest Asia.

However, some Airmen will stay behind to continue training at Spangdahlem. One of those Airmen is Airman 1st Class Alex Lollar. 

His normal day

Lollar's alarm blares at 6 a.m., waking him from a fitful night's sleep. Before he completely wakes, he ponders the upcoming events that will take place throughout the day until reveille plays. Rubbing his crusty eyes, he wrenches himself out of bed and into the bathroom where he gets ready for a long day's work.

Once Lollar gets to work, he checks his email. His office is quite full, and it takes a while before he gets the chance to get to a computer, but this gives him enough time to eat his breakfast and study his career development courses. Later that morning, he troubleshoots radios and maintains communications equipment, such as land mobile radios. 

As members of the radio frequency transmissions shop, Lollar and his colleagues are responsible for various types of communication equipment. A large part of the job is making sure the equipment is fully functional for the missions they are required to carry out.

After his long and tedious day, he cleans up the shop and makes his way home to enjoy music, a game of cards or movies with friends. On the weekends, he unwinds by visiting with friends.

Why he joined

He joined the Air Force in April 2011 because jobs were scarce and he wanted a job with decent pay.

Prior to joining the Air Force, Lollar worked at a travel agency call center as a customer-support representative. He dealt with complaints that people had with their trips or hotel reservations.

He was never fully satisfied with his job experience working customer support. They set what he felt were unrealistic goals that made dealing with customers difficult. He loved talking with people and being able to help them with their problems but didn't like the environment he was working in.

As an alternative he turned to the military and began his career with the Air Force.

Upon completion of basic military training, Lollar originally went to school as a cryptologic linguist. A little more than a year later, he switched over to a radio frequency technician and now supports the efforts of the 606th ACS.

"From my experience in both tech schools, the Air Force gives an excellent foundation for training," he said. "When I was training to be a linguist, they gave us dozens of tools to learn and increase our knowledge and authentic language materials. As an RF tech, they taught us a lot about basic electronics and a lot about the equipment we are likely to see in our career."

The training he received from both jobs has helped him with his current tasks by providing him with a basic knowledge of a variety of different equipment making it easier to learn and operate new ones.

Holding down the fort

Amidst all his training, Lollar maintains land mobile radios to facilitate unit readiness.

"I take care of the day-to-day activities in the shop while the deployers prepare to go down range," Lollar said. "So when they do, I know the shop will be in good hands while they take care of the mission."

With most other 606th Airmen deploying, Lollar has increased responsibilities for maintaining equipment and working on radios. It is his job to know how to use their equipment and make sure it is readily available for those that need it.

"I'm just happy to have my job and do good work."