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ACNS Airmen accelerate change to make PACAF combat ready

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  • By Kimberly Woodruff 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Two Airmen with the 552nd Air Control Wing’s Air Control Networks Squadron office were recognized recently for providing outstanding training and ground support to Pacific Air Force units increasing their capabilities and to ensure their unit was combat ready.

Senior Airmen Guillermo Montanez and Ray Smith received a call to travel on to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to spend six weeks training.  They trained a nine-member team on the Block 40/45 ground equipment for their new E-3G aircraft.

“This is substantial because they [962 Airborne Air Control Squadron at Elmendorf] had been working with 70s technology trying to fight our adversaries in that region,” said Master Sgt. William Kauffman, flight chief, mission management.

“It was easier than I thought,” said Montanez. “I was intimidated at first, but I was confident in my abilities. I’ve been here for two years and I taught them everything I know — tips and tricks to help them remember, and I think it went well.”

Col. Kenneth Voigt, 552nd Air Control Group commander, told Montanez and Smith their work was “unbelievably important” and he was proud of them for coming up with the training on their own.

“Empowering at the lowest level to get to the extreme results at the highest level — that’s what we’re talking about,” Voigt told the Airmen. “You can’t make that step from analog to block digital Block 40 without the Deployable Ground System. You added realism and you morphed what was important for them. We didn’t ask you to do that, but it was something you did because you knew it was the right thing to do.”

“There is a drastic jump between Block 30 to 40,” said Smith. “We used to have to refresh the signals analyst and now they can make their own changes and updates.”

Kauffman agreed and said now Airmen at Elmendorf will be able to make updates in real time instead of waiting for the 552nd ACW to do it for them after each flight, cutting the update time considerably.

“These guys both have two years of experience and they were able to get PACAF trained and fully qualified in six weeks on mission builds, kit builds, trouble shooting, database management, server administration and communication security procedures — this speaks volumes of their capabilities,” said Kauffman. “Montanez and Smith were our first choices to send, and they crushed it.”