1st Combat Communications Squadron connects Nordic Response players

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Caya
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing

Whatever is needed to set up communications at a bare base, Airmen of the 1st Combat Communications Squadron will connect it. 

Based out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, five Airmen assigned to the 1st CBCS traveled to Luleå-Kallax, Sweden, to equip Nordic Response 24 participants with required communications, during the Norwegian-led exercise designed to enhance military capabilities among NATO Allies and partners.  

“We are usually the first people you see on a bare base,” said 1st CBCS Tactical Communications Technician Senior Airman Jimmy King. The 1st CBCS in Sweden is a small team that will get everything functioning for the duration of military operations and then we take down the equipment when the mission is done, he added.  

A major player in NR24, the 914th Air Refueling Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit out of Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York, flying out of Luleå-Kallax, is benefitting from the expertise and skill of the 1st CBCS. 

“When we arrived, we did not have anything,” said 914th Intelligence Officer 2nd Lt. Gregory Murnock. “They are the only ones who can come in and actually set up our systems so we can do our jobs.” 

Because the 1st CBCS is operating in Sweden, the 914th ARW Airmen have been able to rapidly set up their operations on unclassified and classified networks, and unitize radios as well as regular phones.  

1st CBCS is the network piece between the tankers, maintenance and anyone who needs to communicate via whatever medium necessary, said King. “We set up whatever is needed and connect everybody for where they need to go,” he added. 

Along with supporting the U.S. assets, the 1st CBCS integrated with the Swedish military after they encountered a network outage March 4, while setting up a U.S. military network from nothing. 

The Swedish personnel were able to assist with alleviating that issue by patching ports and running the required equipment through the building, King said. “They have been very helpful when needed.” 

The 1st CBCS plays an essential role in ensuring the 914th ARW’s KC-135 Stratotanker has the communications capabilities needed so they can provide aerial refueling support to U.S., allied, and partner nation aircraft while also working alongside Swedish counterparts. 

“For us to have such a small team of five Airmen, with all these moving parts around us and connect those parts together in a minimalistic way, I think that’s pretty huge for combat communications,” said King.