Keeping 920th Rescue Warriors connected
By Master Sgt. Elizabeth Moody, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 07, 2016
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In today's advanced networked communications systems, the demand to deliver accurate, real-time information over secure data links is critical to every Air Force mission.
Tasked with responsibility for search and rescue during hostile military operations, civilian SAR and humanitarian/disaster relief operations support, the 920th Rescue Wing here plays a vitally important role in the Air Force Reserve. Their global mission - to save lives - relies on many highly trained personnel, including a small team of communications experts from the 920th Communications Flight here.
Supporting more than 1,200 reservists across the wing, the 920th CF maintains communications mission readiness by acquiring, placing and configuring thousands of communications assets, including telephones, computers, radios, cell phones and other services for the wing, said Senior Master Sgt. Tim Gray, 920th CF superintendent.
Keeping pace with the unprecedented complexity of today's communications technology gives the 920th Rescue Warriors the ability to deliver vital information from command and control centers to Airmen and their allies globally, providing them strategic and tactical advantages in the fight to save lives.
"They are essential to providing communications to the entire Rescue Wing here and abroad," said Capt. Bruce Schwartz, 920th CF commander.
When faced with a communications issue anywhere in the 920 RQW, help is just a click away with the "Help Desk" computer icon, which quickly reports trouble with the web, network, hardware, software, telephones or cyber threats - all of which impact mission effectiveness. The Help Desk easily generates "trouble tickets" and the 920 CF handily resolves an average of 50 issues per week, Gray said.
With a cadre of only eight members during the week and 36 during a Unit Training Assembly, Gray said thousands of communications tasks are managed each year.
"Some tickets are resolved as quickly as 15 minutes, but others can take up to four hours to complete," Gray said.
Comprising many functions, the 920 CF is responsible for client systems such as the Communications Network shop (which ensures that computer hardware and software are installed and functioning correctly, including standard voice, data, video network and cryptographic client devices), Radio Frequency Transmission Systems (which oversee wireless radio and satellite systems to include encryption transmission devices and intrusion detection systems in a fixed and deployed environment), Knowledge Management (which oversees the wing SharePoint, information assurance, publications and forms, records management, wing directory and the mail room), and Quality Assurance (which ensures compliance to Air Force standards for all communications work).
Not only do they support equipment belonging to the wing, the 920th CF goes out of their way to help other units in need.
"We had some A-10s here a while back, and two people from my shop were recognized for giving the crew a lot of extra help," said Gray.
Gray said Master Sgt. Michelle St. Laurent, RF Transmission section chief, and Mr. James Bailey, Network System Administrator, helped a visiting A-10 Thunderbolt II crew connect computers and set their LMRs channels.
"They do a good job," said Gray, who is a 25-year reservist who hails from Gulf Breeze, Florida.