80+ Ga. Guard installers certified during training event at Robins
By Tech. Sgt. Julie Parker, 116 ACW Public Affairs
/ Published June 17, 2015
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Georgia Air National Guard's 202nd Engineering Installation Squadron recently capped off a weeklong training exercise where more than 80 Airmen were certified here in career-field tasks crucial to their deployed and homeland missions.
As one of 15 engineering installation squadrons throughout the Air National Guard, the Airmen of the 202nd are trained and experienced at designing and installing communications infrastructures around the world.
"In addition to supporting the state of Georgia, our unit has a federal mission and a continual deployment responsibility," said Lt. Col. Fred Walker, the 202nd Engineering Installation Squadron commander. "We have to ensure our Airmen have the training and tools they need to operate successfully in the field."
With a unit of more than 100 personnel; predominantly part-time Guard members, finding the time to get everyone trained and certified has been a challenge, according to Walker.
He said he made the decision to set aside a week for the entire unit to come together and knock out as much training as possible.
In an effort to be adaptable and flexible, Walker said members of the unit also cross-trained each other on their different career field tasks during the week.
"We're running every piece of equipment we have out here in the field, getting all the guys trained," said 2nd Lt. Dylan Young, officer in charge of cable and antenna.
The four career fields that this training event focused on were radio frequency transmissions, cyber transport, airfield systems, and cable and antenna. Additional personnel from supporting career fields in the 202nd provided planning and logistical support, in addition to training in their career field.
"Although our unit consists of four different career fields that comprise our installation branch, they are all inter-dependent," said Walker. "In order to be as effective as possible, everyone on the team needs to be familiar with what the other team members do because when we are out in the field, it's all hands on deck."
During the weeklong event, crews from the 202nd were seen across Robins Air Force Base operating tractors and trenchers, hoisting telephone poles with a medium-profile truck, and climbing and repelling from a 30-foot tower.
"This week has been a really good opportunity to get everyone fully involved, practice all the safety, all the mechanics," said Young. "This event has been a big team building exercise. We're coming away from it feeling a lot more trained and ready for the field."
In addition to supporting the 116th Air Control Wing, the unit is responsible for the fixed-communications infrastructures for 27 other locations, including the 165th Airlift Wing in Savannah, Georgia, and Air National Guard units in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.