101st ACOMS officially unfurls its flag

Photos 101st ACOMS activation

From left, Staff Sgt. Dylan Gooding, 101st Air Communications Squadron Test Flight, Col. John Ferry, 101 Air and Space Operations Group commander, Lt. Col. Dave Wiley, 101st ACOMS commander and Chief Master Sgt. Ewell Griswold, participate in the 101st ACOMS activation June 8. U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Steve Burke

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101st ACOMS officially unfurls its flag

Posted 6/14/2013   Updated 6/14/2013
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by Mary McHale
AFNORTH Public Affairs

6/14/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Activation of the 101st Air Communications Squadron June 8 here marked the latest chapter in a storied history air defense mission support in the United States and Canada.

According to Chief Master Sgt. Ewell Griswold, 101st ACOMS chief enlisted manager, its history began in 1995 when control of what was then the Southeast Air Defense Sector unit transitioned from active-duty Air Force to the Air National Guard. Then in 2004 the SEADS mission merged with that of the 701st Air Defense Squadron. The result was the current 601st Air and Space Operations Center.

Simultaneously existing along with the AOC was the 702nd Computer Systems Squadron, whose NORAD mission it was to verify the integrity of the systems responsible for helping defend U.S. and Canadian airspace.

At this point, the largest component of the mission set in the AOC was the Mission Support Division – responsible for all maintenance, logistics and facility support activities at the AOC. What they did not support was the 1st Air Force staff. That all changed when the MSD, the 702nd CSS and some elements from the 1st AF communications directorate staff formed what Griswold termed “an independent test and support squadron that would provide support to the 601st AOC and the 1st Air Force staff.

“That unit was designated Det. 1, Headquarters 101st Air Operations Group in June 2012 which is the unit that was formally recognized as a squadron during the activation ceremony,” Griswold said.

“The long term goal was always to become a recognized squadron,” said Lt. Col. David Wiley, ACOMS commander. “What it does is enable us to have our own identity, a squadron identity. We have been working on our processes and the way we operate over the past 18 months, so none of that is going to change, we’ve pretty much ironed those out.”

Nor will the mission set change, Wily Said, remaining as broad as before providing not only IT support, but weapons system testing, facility maintenance and logistics.

“The main challenge comes from the fact the mission is so broad,” Griswold said. “We go from a test flight to IT support to logistics and a CE flight in the same squadron which gives us a lot of different ways to support the mission. Believe me, there’s never a dull moment around here.”

“My number one challenge day to day is just trying to keep a watchful eye on all the different areas,” Wiley said. “I have to ensure every customer is given the right level of attention while still focusing on the primary mission – ensuring we’re no kidding able to prosecute Operation Noble Eagle and that the commander has the information he requires when he requires it.”

Griswold agreed keeping data flowing is critical but it must also reflect specific characteristics.

“The Air Force is a knowledge-based enterprise, very IT centric so that support is one of our biggest responsibilities,” he said. “It’s imperative the that information flowing is not only real time, it also needs to be accurate, relevant and reliable.”

Griswold added other mission concerns involve cyber security and keeping training current on the ever-present emerging technology.

“Keeping current in both these areas is critical,” he said. “Staying current on what the cyber threats are and being vigilant to prevent them is at the forefront for us. Likewise, it is just as critical to stay abreast of changing technology as it evolves so rapidly.”

To ensure these criteria and concerns are addressed successfully, both Wiley and Griswold credited the same source: the people in the squadron.

“I get such a pleasure from working with such phenomenal people,” Wiley said. “When a piece of equipment fails or breaks, it’s the people and their attitudes that make the difference. I’m always so proud of the way my organization interacts with their customers and the level of expertise they show. Whether the problem is complex or mundane, they always exhibit an enthusiastic attitude and commitment to their craft.”

“Having been here since 1995, I am very proud and humbled to be part of this unit and am excited about our squadron status,” Griswold said. “It’s a significant milestone in the history of this unit.”

Article source: http://www.1af.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123352601

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