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Behind the Mission: Comm. keeps aircrews radio-ready

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Noah J. Tancer
  • 910th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The success of a mission is reliant on the right people knowing the right information at the right time and hinges on the ability to clearly and quickly answer questions like, “Spray one to ground control, can you read me?”

That was a question asked many times in Idaho from Sept. 14-25, during the 910th Airlift Wing’s aerial spray mission supporting Mountain Home Air Force Base’s fire prevention program to control cheatgrass on Saylor Creek Training Range.

The 910th Communications Squadron kept the answer coming: “Ground control to spray one, we hear you.”

Tasked with building and safeguarding the communication link during the two-week mission, Reserve Citizen Airmen assigned to the 910th Communications Squadron set up and maintained mission-essential radios and provided computer support where needed.

“We’re here to provide ground-to-air radio support for the aircraft,” said Staff Sgt. Malik Flowers, a radio frequency transmission systems technician assigned to the 910th CS. “Commanders on the ground are able to build a picture of what’s going on and figure out when the aircraft is leaving, departing, where they’re going, what’s going on and is the weather going to cancel (the flight) or not.”

The 910th CS’s work allowed for the successful spraying of 19,979 gallons of water-reduced product over 3,050 acres, eliminating the invasive cheatgrass to allow native plants to grow and reduce wildfire risk.

The 910th AW based out of Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, is tasked with the Department of Defense’s only large-area fixed-wing aerial spray capability to control disease-carrying insects, pest insects and undesirable vegetation and to disperse oil spills in large bodies of water.