SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – 52nd Fighter Wing leadership greets 606th Air Control Squadron Airmen as they return from a deployment to Southwest Asia Jan. 15, 2014. The 606th ACS is a self-sustaining squadron consisting of maintenance, supply and approximately 19 other specialties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexis Siekert/Released)
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Friends and family wait to reunite with their loved ones Jan. 15, 2014. Members of the 606th ACS departed for Southwest Asia July 10, 2013, to provide air defense of the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Lukas Kusserow waits at the Spangdahlem Air Terminal to see his father, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shayne Kusserow, return from a deployment to Southwest Asia Jan. 15, 2014. The 606th Air Control Squadron provides daily command and control to the 480th Fighter Squadron in addition to the occasional control of E-3A Sentry AWACS from NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany, and visiting aircraft from around the U.S. Air Forces in Europe scope of operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gustavo Castillo/Released)
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – U.S. Air Force Capt. Joe Faraone, 606th Air Control Squadron, is reunited with his wife, Suk Faraone, Jan. 15, 2014, after a six-month deployment. The 606th ACS supported the entire Afghanistan area of responsibility by providing the 251,000-square mile area with persistent long range radar, data links and radio communication capability at a greater than 99 percent mission effective rate during their deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Gese/Released)
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Melissa Bigler is reunited with her husband U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tyler Bigler, 606th Air Control Squadron, after a deployment to Southwest Asia Jan. 15, 2014. The 606th ACS supported the entire Afghanistan area of responsibility by providing the 251,000-square mile area with persistent long range radar, data links and radio communication capability at a greater than 99 percent mission effective rate during their deployment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rusty Frank/Released)
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany –U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Long, 606th Air Control Squadron commander, feeds a hot dog to his daughter, Adrianna, Jan. 15, 2014. Long and his squadron returned from a six-month deployment to Southwest Asia. The 606th ACS is one of the 52nd Operations Group’s three squadrons which comprise the flying component of the 52nd Fighter Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Gese/Released)
by Staff Sgt. Daryl Knee
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/16/2014 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- U.S. Air Force Airmen with the 606th Air Control Squadron returned Jan. 15, 2014, following a deployment to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
More than 100 families reunited during a homecoming ceremony at one of the squadron's maintenance bays.
The squadron comprises Airmen from 19 different careers, specifically focusing on creating a self-contained support unit for air power. They act as an expeditionary communications unit and employ many types of equipment to maintain airspace superiority -- even in austere environments. The Airmen train throughout the year to arrive in a deployed environment, set up a bare base and begin synchronizing forces and warfighting functions of the pilots overhead, all with little-to-basic infrastructure in place.
One section of the 606th deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, to offer deployable radar, radio and data-link capabilities where the Airmen averaged a 99 percent overall mission effective rating.
"There is no air superiority without air control," said Maj. Gabe Hull, a 606th ACS member who commanded the 73rd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron at Kandahar. "We bring the capability to create an accurate air picture. We also create communication channels for operators to see and communicate with the pilots. Any time you have aircraft flying, you have to have the ability to communicate."
The 606th Airmen also deployed to other locations throughout Southwest Asia to support more than 250,000 square miles of persistent long-range radar, data links and radio communication.
"We create order out of chaos," said Staff Sgt. Paul McGachey, a 606th ACS member who worked as a northeast battle management area controller and tank controller in Southwest Asia. "In a deployed environment, there are many squadrons that perform specific objectives and individual missions. They all need to communicate with each other, and we prioritize and manage the communication assets.
"We deployed in the peak of the fighting season and stepped up during the busiest time of the year," he continued. "I'm glad to be back, but we had an awesome experience on our deployment."
1/19/2014 11:06:56 PM ET This is a great article and we are very happy to see the members and families of the 606th are reunited at their home away from home in Germany. We had an outstanding opportunity to interview SSgt Paul McGachey while on deployment and we learned a lot about the critical mission accomplished. We cannot begin to thank all of the members and families of the 606th for everything you do on behalf of our country and our freedomJudiStardust Radio Network Inc