BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — With more than 6,600 sorties and 38,000 flying hours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron provides premier counter-communications electronic attack capabilities here.
The unit flies the EC-130H Compass Call aircraft which is configured to execute worldwide information warfare tactics. It conducts electronic attack operations in order to deny, degrade or disrupt enemy communications.
“Our mission is to provide specialized electronic warfare through electronic attack,” said 1st Lt. Alexander Shivers 41 EECS mission crew commander, deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona and a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. “This disrupts enemy communications and limits adversaries’ coordination. What we do allows the combatant commanders to enhance their ability to build the battle space.”
Being the Air Force’s only electronic attack platform with the ability to engage and receive real-time target sets, the unit can support U.S. and allied tactical air, surface, sea and space domains.
“We are communication jammers,” said Shivers. “Basically, when we fly out, we receive communication and analyze it to decide whether we are going to engage or pass off the information to the troops on the ground.”
With the squadron’s vital and unique capabilities, they are prepared for immediate deployments anywhere in the world whenever called upon.
“We are capable to deploy at any moment’s notice,” said Shivers. “We are a global response force at home station, and our unit is prepared to depart when and if necessary. Members within the unit have the necessary training to be ready to go wherever they need us.”
The squadron, deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, was first activated in July 1980, under the 55th Electronic Combat Group. In addition to Operation Enduring Freedom, the squadron participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 41 EECS has been continuously deployed since 2002.
Having more than a decade of history in a deployed environment, members from the unit know the importance of their presence in theater.
“It feels good to be part of the history of this mission,” said Capt. Frank Von Heiland, 41 EECS co-pilot deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona and a native of Anaheim, California. “It has been a long road for us but it is a real privilege to have the opportunity to support the troops on the ground.”