Spandahlem Airmen set up deployed radar site

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Airmen from the 606th Air Control Squadron organize their luggage after arriving at their “deployed” location as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the Airmen’s ability to take all their equipment to a deployed location and set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission. The squadron returned to Spangdahlem Air Base May 16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Airmen from the 606th Air Control Squadron organize their luggage after arriving at their “deployed” location as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the Airmen’s ability to take all their equipment to a deployed location and set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission. The squadron returned to Spangdahlem Air Base May 16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Senior Airman Andrew Bastic, 606th Air Control Squadron power production apprentice, eats a chili and bean “Meal, Ready to Eat” after arriving at the squadron’s “deployed” location as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the Airmen’s ability  to take all their equipment to a deployed location and set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Senior Airman Andrew Bastic, 606th Air Control Squadron power production apprentice, eats a chili and bean “Meal, Ready to Eat” after arriving at the squadron’s “deployed” location as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the Airmen’s ability to take all their equipment to a deployed location and set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – From left to right, Staff Sgt. William Blazejewski, 606th Air Control Squadron radio frequency transmission craftsman, Airman 1st Class Derek Paterson, 606th ACS radio frequency transmission apprentice, Senior Airman Cory Zylstra, 606th ACS radio frequency transmission journeyman, and Airman 1st Class Bobby Qermansha, 606th ACS radio frequency transmission journeyman, enjoy “Meals Ready to Eat” after arriving at an isolated location as part of the exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – From left to right, Staff Sgt. William Blazejewski, 606th Air Control Squadron radio frequency transmission craftsman, Airman 1st Class Derek Paterson, 606th ACS radio frequency transmission apprentice, Senior Airman Cory Zylstra, 606th ACS radio frequency transmission journeyman, and Airman 1st Class Bobby Qermansha, 606th ACS radio frequency transmission journeyman, enjoy “Meals Ready to Eat” after arriving at an isolated location as part of the exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Airmen from the 606th Air Control Squadron move and build a tent after arriving to an isolated location as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Airmen from the 606th Air Control Squadron move and build a tent after arriving to an isolated location as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Staff Sgt. Dustin Smith, 606th Air Control Squadron power production journeyman, jumps out of a tactical vehicle after parking it on a plastic tarp to prevent oil from polluting the grass in case of an oil leak, as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Staff Sgt. Dustin Smith, 606th Air Control Squadron power production journeyman, jumps out of a tactical vehicle after parking it on a plastic tarp to prevent oil from polluting the grass in case of an oil leak, as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Airmen from the 606th Air Control Squadron move and build a tent after arriving to an isolated location as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Airmen from the 606th Air Control Squadron move and build a tent after arriving to an isolated location as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Airmen from the 606th Air Control Squadron, use a Pionjar 120 jackhammer to anchor an antenna in the ground to prevent it from falling over as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Airmen from the 606th Air Control Squadron, use a Pionjar 120 jackhammer to anchor an antenna in the ground to prevent it from falling over as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Senior Master Sgt. Page Pinkney, left, 606th Air Control Squadron operations superintendent, eats a “Meal, Ready to Eat” with Master Sgt. Khalifa Woodard, 606 ACS superintendent of operations training, during exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Senior Master Sgt. Page Pinkney, left, 606th Air Control Squadron operations superintendent, eats a “Meal, Ready to Eat” with Master Sgt. Khalifa Woodard, 606 ACS superintendent of operations training, during exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Staff Sgt. Alvin Delos Santos, left, 606th Air Control Squadron data systems technician, ties camouflage with Tech. Sgt. Modica Keenan, 606th ACS readiness NCO in charge, of as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Staff Sgt. Alvin Delos Santos, left, 606th Air Control Squadron data systems technician, ties camouflage with Tech. Sgt. Modica Keenan, 606th ACS readiness NCO in charge, of as part of exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Maj. John McCann, 606th Air Control Squadron chief of maintenance, gives a briefing about the day’s events to Airmen from the 606th ACS during exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)
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GEROLSTEIN, Germany – Maj. John McCann, 606th Air Control Squadron chief of maintenance, gives a briefing about the day’s events to Airmen from the 606th ACS during exercise Eifel Thunder 2011 in Gerolstein, Germany, May 9. The exercise tested the ability of Airmen to take all their equipment to an isolated location where they set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Nick Wilson)

GEROLSTEIN, Germany -- Airmen from Spangdahlem's 606th Air Control Squadron deployed to Gerolstein, Germany, to participate in Eifel Thunder 2011 May 9-16.
 
Eifel Thunder is an operational readiness exercise testing the ability of Airmen to go to a remote location, bring their equipment and set up a deployed radar and satellite communications site, as well as everything else required to survive and accomplish the mission in an isolated environment.

While "deployed" to this location, the Airmen also set up a control and reporting center from the ground up, and conducted vehicle, triage and combat readiness training.

"(By) coming out here (the 606th ACS) proved we're able to come out to the field, go to any environment and set up our equipment to provide theater commanders command and control during combat operations," said Maj. John McCann, 606th ACS chief of maintenance.

The 606th ACS can be tasked through U.S. Air Forces in Europe to support theater and combatant commanders in combat operations at a moment's notice.

"This (training) gives us the capability to see where our deficiencies are, train on those and then come back to see if we can improve on those deficiencies," Major McCann said. "Coming out here for the first time in four years, we'll have some deficiencies. This is a first step in getting us back into the mission capability of supporting the combatant commanders."

According to Major McCann, the 606th ACS should be fully mission-capable to control live missions within 72 hours of initial site setup.

The experience of setting up communications and utilizing those communications from the site has already been practiced on base by Airmen from the squadron. Many of them, however, haven't had the experience of convoying to an isolated location and creating a base from scratch.

"That's the big thing for these Airmen coming out here," Major McCann explained. "They've done it before on our back pad (on base). Now we're trying to give them the confidence that we can go anywhere and do the same thing. Hopefully that's what we gain from this, as well."

For the Airmen, convoying to a barren location where they can get a small taste of how a deployment feels helps them feel more confident in their abilities to accomplish their mission.

"I think it's a great way for us to prepare to deploy so that when we actually get to a place where we have to do our mission, we can do everything spot on," said Airman 1st Class James Herer, 606th ACS radio frequency transmission systems and deployed radar apprentice. "Sitting and learning about it on a [PowerPoint presentation] isn't going to prepare you for deploying. It's one thing to sit (back at the shop), and it's another thing to get out in the mud, dirt and sweltering hot sun to actually get the job done."