OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --
Air National Guard members from the 217th and 210th Engineering Installation Squadrons out of Illinois and Minnesota traveled here to aid the 55th Communications Squadron in laying new fiber-cabling for the 97th Intelligence Support Squadron and other various squadrons.
Traditionally, a normal day for the 55th CS cable dawgs would include: engineering projects, creating materials lists and installing cables inside plant cabling and installing backbone-cabling between buildings.
“The entire base was greatly impacted by the historic flood in March 2019, and the workload for almost every shop has exponentially increased and some equipment and underground cabling was damaged or lost,” said Tech. Sgt. Joel Willitzer, 55th CS project manager. “We have been busy replacing the cabling and equipment to accommodate thousands of displaced personnel and allow them to continue performing their critical missions.”
The old Air Force Weather Agency space inside the Martin Bomber building is being renovated to help members from the 97th ISS and other squadrons that were displaced after the flood. This area will be used by various squadrons on base so they can continue to perform classified missions.
The Communication Squadron requested help for the MBB project from multiple Air Force E&I units and the 207th and 210th were quick to accept the task.
“The flood greatly increased the workload on the CS, causing the need for rapid response team such as E&I team to assist with larger projects such as this one,” Willitzer said.
The E&I team arrived here in early July. Their job is to evaluate the site inside the Martin Bomber building so they can determine the soundness of the building infrastructure. Once they have heard their customer’s request. The team help’s build a plan while also creating a materials list which includes items needed to complete the project. From there, the team develops drawings and instructions on how to successfully complete the project.
The team is also designing the path and running thousands of feet of new fiber-cabling into the area to provide Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router, Secret Internet Protocol Router, and National Security Agency network connectivity to the personnel in that designated area which will be approximately 330 NSA clients and a combined 100 clients for NIPR/SIPR.
“E&I units are frequently requested to go conduct engineering surveys to develop a project,” said Capt. Brian Barnard, 217th E&I Squadron cyberspace operations project engineer. “The E&I community has been assisting the United States Strategic Command project for the past few years and it is a wonderful chance to be able to come back and assist Offutt AFB again.”
Once this team is done with their survey an additional team will come to complete the install. Willitzer is very happy that the team came in to aid them in this mission.
“We are extremely grateful for the assistance and the team is very professional and knowledgeable,” said Willitzer. “They are very dedicated and are doing a great job prioritizing our needs to make sure they are met.”