ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
The 5th Combat Communications Group at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, found a unique way to commemorate the anniversary of its’ activation 56 years ago - July 1, 1964.
This week, members of the group put the finishing touches on the newly created “Mob Swamp” which is located on the left side of building 963 off of Robins Parkway just inside the Russell Parkway Gate.
“We noticed it would puddle every time it rained really hard,” said Lt. Col. Derek Huber, 52nd CBCS commander. “There would be a huge puddle in that grassy area and some of the Airmen would mention it looked like a swamp out here.”
A fitting description since the group’s mascot is an alligator.
And just how did the largest reptile in North America come to represent the formerly named 5th “Mobile” Communications Group?
“The very first piece of equipment we got was an air traffic control tower in the south training area. That is where we practiced and it is also a swamp out there. So they used to setup the equipment out there,” said George Broussard, 5th CCG Quality and Assurance director.
Broussard was an active member of the group in 1989.
He added, “Well, there were some baby alligators out there and this air traffic controller took one as a pet. He lived in base housing, and he walked that joker on a leash.”
The pet alligator was named “Ally.”
Broussard said he enjoys sharing the folklore surrounding the “5th Mob” to its members and history buffs.
“Every time they were setting up equipment, (the air traffic controller) would come out there with Ally. Well, Ally got to be about four or five feet long, a little too big,” said Broussard. “They told him you have got to let the gator go, and they let it go in the swamp back there. And that is how our mascot became the gator.”
Creating the mock swamp was a bonding activity according to Master Sgt. Chris Bratton, 52nd CBCS Maintenance and Training Section chief.
“This was a neat way to build some unit and squadron pride,” Bratton said. “We landscaped the area and put rocks down. We have a boulder for each unit that is in the “Mob” – 51st and 52nd Combat Communications Squadron and 5th Combat Communication Support Squadron.”
Also included in the display, are three brown alligators made from concrete and three painted boulders. Bratton said each boulder is “guarded” by an alligator.
The 5th CCG has nearly 500 Airmen. They provide a variety of critical communication needs such as radio, phone and internet support.