Cyber specialists

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Quion Lowe
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

While working in the modern Air Force, the internet can play a huge role in everyday communications. A strong internet connection aids in communicating effectively and keeping the Holloman mission going. Although the Airmen who ensure this standard may go unnoticed, they do not take this responsibility lightly.

The 49th Communications Squadron consists of many units that perform mission critical work. These teams are responsible for maintaining network connectivity, managing and installing any base communication devices, and monitoring the security of base network information.

The Client Systems Technicians is a unit that provides customer service to Airmen on base who need assistance with the maintenance or repair of their government issued devices. The section consists of three specialized teams: remote, bench and on-site.

“Remote is where we go into the network, in an admin role and remotely access computers; we’ll work on software and update firmware,” said Airman 1st Class Jahliel Jackson, 49th CS client systems technician. “The bench is the most common method used, that’s where the person of contact will bring in the computer or product and we’ll manually perform repairs and reimage computers or perform the initial imaging. If the computer cannot be brought to the bench that’s when the on-site team will go out and fix devices on-location.”

While customer service on computer desktops is critical to the Holloman mission, the communications squadron’s Airmen’s skills go far beyond that.

“We work on pretty much anything that has a central processing unit, motherboard or user interface,” said Jackson. “We make sure all devices and software are up to standard, the computers and software used on the flightline are critical and have a direct impact on the mission.”

The CST team focuses on the repair and initial setup of software and imaging for devices on base, but there are many other functions to communication devices that require expertise to maintain effectiveness. One example is cyber transport.

The cyber transport team is responsible for providing internet capability while working side-by-side with the cyber operations team, who is in charge of managing the services involved in data connection.

“Our team is responsible for making sure everybody has connectivity,” said Tech. Sgt. William Etheridge, 49th CS quality assurance noncommissioned officer in charge. “The connectivity we provide enables the pilots to do their briefs, debriefs and sortie generations, for the F-16 Vipers and MQ-9 Reaper aircraft. We enable connectivity for our test group partners as well and we assist the 49th Civil Engineering Squadron with their heating, ventilation and air conditioning to enable connectivity for central air. We provide that connectivity to the base so the mission can continue to get done bigger, faster and better than ever before.”

With duties that have direct influence on the Holloman and total Air Force mission, Jackson and Etheridge both said they take pride in their job and look forward to their service and accept any challenges that come with it.

“The pilots who we help enable mission capabilities for go on to impact the Air Force mission in a big way,” said Jackson. “I take pride in maintaining mission capabilities all over base. All computers on base go through our team, so if the base has to quarantine we have the capability to do so without missing a beat, or when a safety investigation board needs to investigate the F-16 functions, we can work with them to help ensure the safety of the pilots.”