Va. National Guard Airmen prep communications gear for crisis

Airmen perform operational checks on equipment.

Airmen assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing practice setting up the Joint Incident Site Communication Capability system and perform operational checks on equipment Sept. 13, 2018, in Sandston, Virginia. The team is on standby prepared to provide communications support in the event of connectivity loss due to Hurricane Florence. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kellyann Elish)

Airmen perform operational checks on equipment.

Airmen assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing practice setting up the Joint Incident Site Communication Capability system and perform operational checks on equipment Sept. 13, 2018, in Sandston, Virginia. The team is on standby prepared to provide communications support in the event of connectivity loss due to Hurricane Florence. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kellyann Elish)

Airmen perform operational checks on equipment.

Airmen assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing practice setting up the Joint Incident Site Communication Capability system and perform operational checks on equipment Sept. 13, 2018, in Sandston, Virginia. The team is on standby prepared to provide communications support in the event of connectivity loss due to Hurricane Florence. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kellyann Elish)

Airmen perform operational checks on equipment.

Airmen assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing practice setting up the Joint Incident Site Communication Capability system and perform operational checks on equipment Sept. 13, 2018, in Sandston, Virginia. The team is on standby prepared to provide communications support in the event of connectivity loss due to Hurricane Florence. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kellyann Elish)

Airmen perform operational checks on equipment.

Airmen assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing practice setting up the Joint Incident Site Communication Capability system and perform operational checks on equipment Sept. 13, 2018, in Sandston, Virginia. The team is on standby prepared to provide communications support in the event of connectivity loss due to Hurricane Florence. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kellyann Elish)

Airmen perform operational checks on equipment.

Airmen assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing practice setting up the Joint Incident Site Communication Capability system and perform operational checks on equipment Sept. 13, 2018, in Sandston, Virginia. The team is on standby prepared to provide communications support in the event of connectivity loss due to Hurricane Florence. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kellyann Elish)

Airmen perform operational checks on equipment.

Airmen assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing practice setting up the Joint Incident Site Communication Capability system and perform operational checks on equipment Sept. 13, 2018, in Sandston, Virginia. The team is on standby prepared to provide communications support in the event of connectivity loss due to Hurricane Florence. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kellyann Elish)

SANDSTON, Va. -- A hurricane threatens to hit Virginia and Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen respond. Mission command centers are set up and task forces are assigned in various regions throughout the commonwealth before the storm makes landfall.

Commanders, Soldiers and Airmen rely on the use of technology to communicate with one another when geographically separated. It is vital to the mission to have a strong line of communication between mission command centers and the men and women out in the field.

But what happens when the winds pick up or lightning strikes, taking down trees and the power lines with them? Communication and internet access are lost. The longer it takes to restore, the greater the risk of human and material loss.

That’s when a team like the 192nd Communications Flight comes in.

Communications Airmen assigned to the 192nd Fighter Wing are on stand by, ready to go at a moments’ notice when disaster strikes. They can set up a mobile communications system, also known as the Joint Incident Site Communication Capability system, and a standalone satellite designed to be self-contained and provide high-bandwidth capability and first responder communications systems anywhere.

JISCC systems provide an array of communications options to a variety of users, including wireless and wired internet connectivity, radio connections for multiple frequencies, uplink to satellites, telephone service and many more communications capabilities.

“The system also allows for joint service connectivity,” explained Tech. Sgt. Eugene Harrigan, cyber systems operator. “In the event of a disaster, in conjunction with providing network services, the JISCC team is able to connect with other JISCC systems in an extensive reach back capability to expand services. This includes other units, state and local first responders, and other emergency services that may be needed.”

The JISCC is easily transported to any disaster area with all equipment necessary being hauled in an enclosed trailer. Members of the JISCC team are not only trained annually, but also conduct  familiarization throughout the year, as well as yearly evaluations in which they must meet state requirements.

“Being a part of the JISCC team has been a great experience,” said Harrigan. “As a member of the Air National Guard, you look forward to helping and providing support to those in need throughout the state. The capabilities that the JISCC provides allow us to do just that and more.”

During the mobilization of the VNG in support of Hurricane Florence beginning Sept. 12, 2018, a handful of Airmen from the 192nd CF were on standby at the Mullins Readiness Center in Sandston, Virginia. They brought the JISCC system with them. Not knowing the route the hurricane would take or the emergencies they may face, they were prepared for anything.

Although Florence took a route that had less impact on Virginia than anticipated, the 192nd JISCC team remained on standby should another area of Virginia or a neighboring state need assistance. In preparation for this possibility, the Airmen performed an operations check of their equipment and practiced setting up the JISCC.

“I have been labeled as the guy who loves the JISCC,” said Master Sgt. Fernandes Branch, JISCC non-commissioned officer in charge. “My response to that is I fully recognize the JISCC as the best resource the 192nd Comm Flight has to offer our section the hands-on training and exposure to most of the comm career fields. Being tasked to come to the aid of our state and country via the use of the JISCC is what makes this job worth training for.”

The team also took this time to provide extra training to its members. Members of the team ranged from new Airmen learning the ropes to experienced Airmen who have years of experience to offer. Each member of the team has a specific role, and they all work together to respond quickly and efficiently.

“I have had nothing but a great learning experience being part of the JISCC team,” said Senior Airman Dukeith Barrera, client systems technician. “I get to work systems hands-on and learn all their functionality. On top of this, looking at the bigger picture, I understand how we are an asset to the mission. My duty on this team is to set up satellite communications and make sure we have network communication.”

From start to finish, they set up the JISCC in about an hour with full capabilities being reached within three. The initial set up and final set up are, however, based on location, type of disaster response and the need of the mission. Even when faced with technical difficulties, the team worked together and overcame the hurdles. They verified the equipment and their team were ready to respond to a communication crisis wherever it may occur.
192d Fighter Wing

192d Fighter Wing

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Issue #14 of the 2018 Commonwealth's Guardian bi-weekly newsletter is available for download in PDF format at https://go.usa.gov/xUkYn. Please share the newsletter link with anyone you think would enjoy keeping up to date with the Virginia National Guard. Please visit https://go.usa.gov/xUkfU to subscribe to the newsletter via email. In This Issue: 529th CSSB ordered to mobilize for federal active duty Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkYa Virginia cyber warriors join New England exercise Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkYY Bissell takes command of NATO Headquarters Sarajevo Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkYg Va. National Guard aviation battalion trains around the state Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkY4 192nd Security Forces Squadron trains to shoot, move and communicate Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkYb DMA conducts first-ever Supervisor Course Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUkYW
This #VaANG recruiting video from 2001 is #throwbackthursday gold. #tbt
192nd Security Forces squadron trains to shoot, move and communicate. Read more here - https://go.usa.gov/xUWZg Photos here - https://flic.kr/s/aHskEepSJQ
Check out the 192nd's own SSgt. Cunningham co-hosting the sixth episode of the Air Combat Command's podcast "The Reflective Belt"
For this #throwbackthursday, 2nd Lt. Allison Gilbert, a Physician's Assistant from the Virginia Air National Guard's 192d Fighter Wing, treats a young patient with the help of interpreter, 1st Lt. Roberto Balderon from the Salvadoran Army July 16, 2002. The 192 FW's Medical Squadron took a 14-day humanitarian mission to Morazan, El Salvador. They visited the four towns of Guatajiagua, Sociedad, Cacaopera, and Chilanga for medical support of the local people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michele G. Misiano) #TBT #VaANG
Happy Independence Day 192nd Fighter Wing! Thank you all for helping to keep our country free. Enjoy your families today and be safe. Honored to serve with you all! - Chief Bouley
"Please join me in congratulating our 149th Fighter Squadron's Maj. 'Mongo' Dietrich who was awarded the United States Air Force 2017 Fighter Instructor Pilot of the Year," said Col. Frank J. Lobash, 192nd Fighter Wing commander. "This is an incredible accomplishment that once again shows the amazing talent and dedication our F-22 fighter squadron brings to the fight everyday." Lt. Gen. Mark C. Nowland, U.S. Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, hosts the 2017 Air Force Fighter Awards Ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington D.C., June 25, 2018. (Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz)
Issue #13 of the 2018 Commonwealth's Guardian bi-weekly newsletter is available for download in PDF format at https://go.usa.gov/xUrKZ. Please share the newsletter link with anyone you think would enjoy keeping up to date with the Virginia National Guard. Visit https://go.usa.gov/xU4R5 to add your email to the subscription list. In This Issue: 149th Fighter Squadron celebrates its 71st year Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrb2 Soldiers, Airmen awarded for marksmanship excellence Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrbT Flora to succeed Mercer as Assistant Adjutant General – Army Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrbj Hubbard takes command of 183rd RTI Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrbW 192nd Fighter Wing welcomes new wing command chief Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrbZ Governor signs DMV drivers license veteran indicator bill Read more: https://go.usa.gov/xUrbB
#Throwbackthursday to when the Virginia Air National Guard enlisted 50 Airmen in just three days during 1970. See anyone you served with? #VaANG #VANGUARD #TBT read more here: https://go.usa.gov/xQsqU
“Civil Support Team operations are extremely complex, and excellence doesn’t just happen,” said Brig. Gen. James W. Ring, Virginia National Guard Director of the Joint Staff. “We are extremely proud of the outstanding performance of the Soldiers and Airmen of the 34th CST on the external evaluation and greatly appreciate the time and effort that went into their success.”
Welcome Chief Master Sgt. Christopher L. Amburn! He is the newest member of the VaANG and the incoming 192nd Fighter Wing command chief.
The VaANG is making a difference around the world. 203rd RED HORSE Squadron is building a school for children in rural El Salvador as part of Operation Beyond the Horizon 2018. Accompanied by the 192nd Security Forces Squadron and 192nd Medical Group, the mission provided training opportunities for the Airmen and new facilities for Salvadoran children.View photos here - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1826178330771708.1073741976.111055992283959&type=1&l=b1d569b546
Today, the 149th Fighter Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard, celebrates its 71st year as a unit. Read about what Airman 1st Class Dagejah Hampton and Lt. Col. "Scrappy" think makes the 149th FS great - https://go.usa.gov/xQhhc
Airmen of the 203rd RED HORSE squadron, Virginia Air National Guard, begin construction of a school, kitchen and latrine facility during May 2018 in rural El Salvador. The project was designed to bring vital services and resources to rural communities as part of Operation Beyond the Horizon, conducted by U.S. Army and Air Force active, guard and reserve components along with the El Salvadoran military and civic agencies. (Courtesy photo)
Happy Father's Day!
In case you missed it when the 203rd RED HORSE squadron volunteers were featured on the evening news for building a playground for kids in Norfolk, we talked with them too and went back to get photos of the finished project. According to one of the teachers there, the kids love the new playground. Great work RED HORSE! Read more here - https://go.usa.gov/xQtQ3
Members of the 203rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE), 192nd Fighter Wing, volunteered their time to construct a playground April 20, 2018, at the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk, Virginia. The effort was in coordination with the United Way of South Hampton Roads to help a Head Start preschool program remain in the neighborhood it primarily serves.
Approximately 100 U.S. Flags are displayed in celebration of National Flag Day June 14, 2018, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Flag Day was officially established by President Woodrow Wilson on May 30, 1916. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Bryan Myhr)