The control and reporting center that supports air operations is a ground-base command and control element designed to deploy anywhere in the world. The 607th Air Control Squadron mission at Luke Air Force Base is to train command and control, known as C2, battle management specialists to populate CRC units throughout the Air Force.
“We train our students to monitor airspace, control aircraft and a variety of other air operations,” said Master Sgt. Timothy Torrez, 607th ACS cyber transport systems flight chief. “Pilots also train with CRC centers for contingency situations.”
The 607th ACS is separated into the operations side, which houses the instructors, and the maintenance side, which maintains the equipment used to support training. About 200 students flow through the 607th curriculum annually with a total of 14 Air Force specialties supporting the mission.
“Our unit here is pretty unique,” said Tech Sgt. Thomas Garcia, 607th ACS current operations NCO-in-charge. “We support seven syllabuses and work hand-in-hand with the fighter squadrons on base including three fighter squadrons in Tucson and one at Holloman AFB, New Mexico. We do baseline training, on-the-job training and predeployment training for all CRC students.”
On the operations side of the house, all Airmen assigned to the 607th ACS have the command and control battle management operations specialty code, but are further distinguished by the “Delta” designation. Airmen with this designation are weapons directors and are allowed to communicate directly with the pilots. The officer equivalent is command and control officers, or 13 Bravos, and they go through the same training.
“Weapons directors are the ones telling the aircraft where to go,” Garcia said. “It’s like a video game. I point out to the pilot all the bad aircraft, and they shoot them down.”
Other positions taught under the command and control battle management operations umbrella include surveillance personnel who track aircraft emission to distinguish friend from foe, interface control technicians in charge of data link communications between aircraft and ground control centers, and electronic protections technicians who monitor radar systems.
“Our bread and butter is supporting the troops downrange with time-sensitive targets and making sure aircraft are safely getting from one location to another,” Garcia said.
In addition to working at Air Control Centers, Airmen use transportable command and reporting facilities called tactical air operations modules to plan, direct and control air operations, and perform specific airspace management tasks. TAOM are maintained by the maintenance side of the 607th ACS.
“We provide the eyes in the sky,” Torrez said. “Pilots rely on the CRC for guidance so if our systems go down, they’re blind. We are trained to fix and maintain our capabilities at all times.”
Command and control battle management specialists have the greatest responsibility of defending the airspace and directing pilots in battle. For Garcia, it’s a job he loves.
“I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he said. “I get to train Airmen to do a job that would cause most people to shake in their seats because it’s such a huge responsibility.”