724th EABS communication flight stays in touch with the outside world

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Joshua R. M. Dewberry
  • 435 Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The 724th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron communications flight is responsible for the phone, radio and online networks that allows deployed Airmen to stay in touch with colleagues and loved ones from a deployed environment, in Agadez, Niger.

The communications flight was part of the initial teams to establish operations in the remote location.

“The surrounding countries harbor terrorist activity, so we had to take necessary precautions to ensure our safety in such an austere environment,” said Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Miller, 724th EABS communication superintendent. “However, our remote location is actually an advantage for us because of the geographical barriers around us.”

What started as a light tactical unit evolved into an enduring operation.

“This is a hybrid mission for us,” said Capt. Aja Cornella, 724th EABS communications flight commander. “Our equipment is a mixture of small, light communication equipment meant for mobility and larger, more permanent technology like satellite dishes.”

The communications section keeps contingency plans in case the primary systems fail.

“We do what we can to keep everything fully operational in such an austere environment, but equipment does eventually break,” said Miller. “High temperatures, dust and non-stop operations keep us plenty busy and make it that much more important that we always have a way to communicate with our command if something were to fail.”

Without communications, the commanding units of the 724th EABS would lose control of the operation.

“Outside support is key to this mission,” said Cornella. “We rely heavily on incoming shipments of equipment and oversight from back home to keep us going when we’re so far from more established bases.”

The technology utilized by the communications team was not built for the soaring heat and dust storms, so regular preventive maintenance is necessary.

“We make do with the resources at our disposal,” said Miller. “This operation is truly a team environment, where everyone contributes to make this mission possible.”