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31st CS keeps Wyvern Nation connected during COVID-19

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Heidi Goodsell
  • 31st Fighter Wing

The 31st Communications Squadron kept the 31st Fighter Wing virtually connected during COVID-19 operations.

During the early stages of COVID-19, every week new decrees came down and changed the base’s sense of normal operations. The 31st CS operations flight stepped in and kept the mission going. 

“The 31st Communications Squadron operations flight had to adapt and overcome unique challenges quickly to continue supporting the 31st FW,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Megan Cann, 31st CS operations flight commander.

There were three main challenges the flight had to confront; laptop imaging, new Virtual Private Network (VPN) installing and updating, and the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) Teams rollout.

Many individuals who had never teleworked before suddenly found themselves in need of equipment in order to be able to work from home. The flight had made early coordination efforts across the Major Command to request enough laptops. They then had to reimage and update the laptops with the new VPN and other software.

The laptops not only needed the software, but Aviano Air Base servers were configured and certain data transport paths were established. Bringing the footprint from only about one hundred VPN users to thousands of users, the network operations and network infrastructure sections were essential in establishing these changes.

“As COVID-19 was advancing on Italy earliest through this pandemic, Aviano AB led the efforts in U.S. Air Forces in Europe and the AF in adapting and enabling to these telework postures,” said Cann.

Simultaneously, Microsoft offered the new CVR Teams as a 6-month temporary subscription to the entire Department of Defense. The flight had to conduct coordination, testing, training for local users, and troubleshoot all the new capabilities in order to make the transition successful for everyone working at Aviano.

The operations flight efforts displayed professional expertise to ensure the mission remained safe, secure and effective during a global pandemic.