Faces of Holloman "Senior Airman Raab"

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman DeAndre Curtiss
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note:This is part two of the Faces of Holloman series highlighting the Airmen of the 49th Wing.

Have you ever wondered what goes into keeping the United States of America's communications and infrastructure links going? Or what keeps your cell phone and satellite TV working? Whether you have or have not, part of the answer to these questions is the work being done by Senior Airman Dustin Raab.

Airman Raab, who works as a solar optical observing network technician, is responsible for maintaining the AN-FMQ7 Solar Observing Optical Network. The AN-FMQ7 SOON is one of three solar telescopes on earth capable of monitoring the surface of the sun.

"Solar flares have the capability to cause blackouts so what we are able to do is be an early warning detection system that the Air Force uses to predict and forecast that activity," said Raab. "We are able to send the information we get from the telescope to agencies that use it to redirect communications to ensure that Airmen in the battlefield and the infrastructure of the United States aren't affected.

Raab's daily duties include performing preventative maintenance on the telescope, which entails various checklists that help to verify its functional operation. In a job where it is critical to be accurate, solar system technicians must follow a strict set of standards to ensure the measurements the telescopes record are accurate.

"If we have incorrect measurements we could be missing something that is extremely important or acting on something that isn't so important," said Raab.

In addition to his primary job, Raab is the Vehicle Control Officer as well as the tool manager for his section. As the tool manager he is responsible for over $500K of test equipment and tools.

When he is not maintaining of the SOONs, Raab loves to spend time with his wife, who works in the 49th Maintenance Squadron as a F-22 armament systems technician. He also enjoys working on his 2000 Chevrolet Camaro SS.

Raab cites education as his primary motivation for joining the Air Force but also states that he was looking for a sense of camaraderie and purpose.

"I joined the Air Force to protect my country and do something with my life," said Raab. "When I graduated high school I was on a track to really not do anything, so I knew the military was the path for me. I also believe that it's important to get an education in this day in age."