Defense

April 10, 2013

‘Compass Call’ing: Are you listening?

Tags:
SSgt. David Dobrydney
Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

Tech. Sgt. Justin Longway checks a patch panel aboard an EC-130 Compass Call March 23, 2013, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The 41st EECS flies nightly missions in support of troops on the ground. Longway is an airborne maintenance technician with the 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron.

Even high in the air, they have their ears close to the ground.

Linguists from the 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron, are trained in the art of employing electronic attack for the purpose of denying, degrading and disrupting enemy communications from aboard the EC-130 Compass Call.

“We’re a precision electronic attack platform,” said Tech. Sgt. Dallas Allen, a cryptologic language analyst with the 41st EECS. “We can go out and … stop (the enemy) from communicating with each other.”

When on a mission, the airmen of the Compass Call employ precision electronic attack capabilities in support of U.S. and coalition tactical air, surface and special operations forces.

“You really have to have a lot of confidence in yourself when it comes to identifying certain kinds of communications,” Allen said. “Sometimes you’ll be listening and think ‘did I just hear him say that, or did I expect him to say that?'”

The linguists’ confidence comes from the amount of practice they go through while at home station, Allen said.

Senior Airman Whitni Orgass works at her station aboard an EC-130 Compass Call March 23, 2013 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The 41st EECS flies nightly missions in support of troops on the ground. Orgass is an 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron cryptological language analyst.

“We have to spend hours in the listening lab studying our language,” he said. “We go to simulations and that’s where we’re able to hone our skills. We listen to known communications so we can practice identifying them.”

The linguist career field is relatively small and with the group of linguists who fly, even smaller. Allen said there are probably less than 1,000.

Given the size of the career field, the linguists have shorter deployments than other Airmen. However, their time spent at home is shorter as well, Allen said.

“It’s a leapfrog effect,” he said. “We’re constantly out here.”

The missions can last anywhere from two to 15 hours, based on the need of troops on the ground.

“Some nights we might not have anything, other nights we may be extremely busy,” Allen said. “When we get feedback from (the ground troops) … it makes you feel like we’re really coming together as a group.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 
 

SMC stands up new Advanced Systems, Development Directorate

While space officially begins at 62 miles above the Earth’s surface, for the men and women of the Air Force space begins near sea level at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base,Calif. SMC is where innovative ideas are matured into space systems that deliver operational capabilities to U.S. warfighters in...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

Navy’s first F-35C squadron surpasses 1,000 flight hours

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier va...
 
 

Salina, Kansas, recalls anniversary of shuttered base

It has been 50 years this month since the announcement that Schilling Air Force Base was closing rattled Salina residents. The Salina Journal, which carried news of the closure in its Nov. 19, 1964, editions, reported that the economic disaster then spared no part of the community – real estate, retail, civic involvement, church attendance,...
 
 
Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine

SEWIP block upgrade program evaluated for LCS

Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Helen Hernandez monitors an SLQ-32 radar aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Dwight D. Eisenhower is deplo...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>