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606th Returns to Spangdahlem
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)
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 606th Air Control Squadron
Air control squadron returns from deployment

Posted 1/16/2014   Updated 1/17/2014 Email story   Print story


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
Judi Burns, NW Florida
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