They're all in it together

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Alicia Lacy
  • 147th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

Piercing radio frequency interrupts the chatter in a small tent.


Instinctively, a supply noncommissioned officer jumps up and grabs the handset and listens intently to the message.


A sequence of eight digits is relayed, hidden amongst the crackling radio static.

The NCO then repeats the transmission and receives confirmation from the sender on the other side of the radio that the message was received accurately.


Almost immediately, with coordinates in hand, after being input into a hand-held GPS system, a command support staff member drives with a maintenance member in a HUMVEE to perform land and vehicle navigation.


Working together, the two navigate between waypoints and reach the targeted destination.


Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. said it best: "An Army is a team; lives, sleeps, eats, fights as a team."


These airmen were all a part of the team.


Despite not carrying the Air Force specialty code of a Tactical Air Control Party member, the support staff at the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing, know what it's like to be a member of the ASOS team.


For many in the supply, knowledge operations, or human resources career fields, land and vehicle navigation is not a conventional part of their training or job.


However, the Ellington Field-based airmen work with the TACPs at the squadron, and train with them, as they have additional expeditionary requirements that come with being assigned to an ASOS unit.


"They're a big asset to the operations section to support them in their training," said Master Sgt. James Nance, the squadron's maintenance section supervisor.


"We have to be combat mission ready," he added, about the support staff.


All members of the ASOS unit played a role in a skills training exercise April 1-6, 2014, at Camp Swift in Bastrop, Texas, with support personnel operating in their traditional roles, but also achieving training requirements necessitated as a result of them being members of the tactical squadron.


"We have to do tactics training," Nance said. "As a support function, there are certain training tables that we have to accomplish, so we do basic map skills, night vision goggle driving, convoy training, site defense, site selection, encode/decode, receive transmit procedures on radios, and basic combat skills."


During the exercise, one individual became combat mission ready and five completed their continuation training.


"A lot of the training is the training they would use in case they deployed downrange, and it helps with our survivability," said Master Sgt. Martin, a radio maintenance technician with the squadron. "We're giving them combat knowledge, how to battle track and operate vehicles in a combat zone and work with us to create a battle station for our communications."


The roles of support personnel in the overall success of the squadron's objectives prove that every job and every airman play a part in mission accomplishment.


For more information on the squadron or being a TACP at Ellington Field, call 832-632-1387 or 800-864-6264.