Executing the Mission Caribbean Connection
By Tech Sgt. Marizol Ruiz, 156th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 10, 2015
AGUADILLA, Puerto Rico -- 99 Airmen from the 117th Air Control Squadron, Georgia Air National Guard and 12 Airmen from the 283rd Combat Communications Squadron, Atlanta Georgia in conjunction with 141st Air Control Squadron, Puerto Rico Air National Guard, pulled live feeds from deployed radar during an annual field training exercise called "Caribbean Connection" on Nov. 9 thru 20, 2015.
The mobile equipment to be set up in a tactical environment in Puerto Rico was flown in on three separate C-130s and one C-17 cargo planes.
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 main base for the exercise was the 141st Air Control Squadron out of the Punta Borinquen Radar Site in Ramey, Aguadilla, the second was out of Camp Santiago Joint Maneuver Training Center in Salinas, and the third site was out of Savanah Georgia.
"Caribbean Connection is what my unit named it," said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Anderson, Branch Chief for the GANG. "We came down from Savanah Georgia and set up deployed radar; where we could reach back to Savanah 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 Spier, 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 Savanah to PR," said Spier. "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, another notch is etched into the history of time of the 141st ACS, because as the main radar site, the squadron successfully controlled live aircraft during the exercise also. The 141st has not controlled live aircraft from their site since 1997.
"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 Savanah system and periodically have the opportunity to control live aircraft off the coast of Georgia for their training