Military News

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Puerto Rico, Georgia Airmen make Caribbean Connection

by Tech Sgt. Marizol Ruiz
156th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

12/10/2015 - AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico  -- Airmen from the Georgia Air National Guard and the Puerto Rico Air National Guard teamed up to control aircraft from deployed radar during exercise Caribbean Connection here, Nov. 9 - 20.

The 141st Air Control Squadron, Puerto Rico ANG hosted 99 Airmen from the 117th Air Control Squadron and 12 Airmen from the 283rd Combat Communications Squadron, both with the Georgia ANG, to pull live feeds and provide operational control from three remote sites.

The mobile equipment to be set up in a tactical environment in Puerto Rico was flown in on three separate C-130 Hercules aircraft and one C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane.

The deployed radar was tied into three different sites to create an aggressive communications triad exercise, and an operational exercise to control aircraft off the coast of Georgia. The exercise was based at the 141st Air Control Squadron's Punta Borinquen Radar Site in Ramey, Aguadilla, with remote locations in Camp Santiago Joint Maneuver Training Center in Salinas, and Savannah, Georgia.

"Caribbean Connection is what my unit named it," said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Anderson, Branch Chief for the GANG. "We came down from Savannah Georgia and set up deployed radar, where we could reach back to Savannah with live feeds so operators could control live missions from here."

"Our mission has been a huge success since we left home," he said. "All the way from doing the mobility process of loading equipment onto the aircrafts, to bringing it here to P.R. and convoying all our equipment across the mountains to set up camp at the main radar site in Aguadilla."

According to the 117th ACS Commander Lt. Col. Ron Speir, the exercise goals were met.

"We have been able to complete our top objectives because we were able to remote the radars, radios and data links from Savannah to PR," said Speir. "We were controlling aircraft like we would if we were deployed to other areas of the globe."

At the same time with the 117th ACS, the exercise marked the first time in 18 years for the 141st to control live aircraft during an exercise here.

"The team work has been outstanding between the 141st ACS and the 117th ACS," said Speir. "I have been in the ANG for 28 years, and this has probably been the best annual training exercise for our unit."

In conjunction with the 117th ACS, the 141st ACS will have the capability to use their satellite to tie in to the Savannah system and periodically have the opportunity to control live aircraft off the coast of Georgia in future missions.

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