Keesler Engineers Provide High Tech Communications - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/25/03

Keesler Engineers Provide High Tech Communications

A little known group of installation engineers at Keesler Air Force Base is partly responsible for all the high tech communication used by coalition forces.

Members of the 738th Engineering Installation Squadron work on everything from fiber optic phone lines to complex computer networks.

The group's motto is, "with pride, worldwide".

They install communications towers and splice underground phone lines. The 738th provides vital military support.

"We install communications infrastructure for the Department of Defense worldwide," explained Captain Chris Miller.

Their training site is tucked away at the back of Keesler Air Force base.

"We bring all our new people out here. We train them and get them up to speed. Refreshers. Just to keep everybody proficient. But most of the stuff we do, we do on the road," said Miller.

The average engineer for the 738th is on deployment some two hundred days each year. The squadron is one hundred eighty members strong, including civilian engineers.

Randy Blanchard just returned from Qatar.

"We had a team of two military engineers and six civilian engineers testing some communications at Al Udeed air base. It was a communications facility to include sat com and various other types of communications," said Blanchard.

These engineers say the high tech advantage is a definite plus for American and coalition forces. The biggest challenge for the installers is making certain the modern equipment is available and functioning as the forces push forward.

"And we have to take that capability to a contingency location. So, it takes a lot of effort on our part to bring in the kind of infrastructure required to make that capability possible to the war fighter at any time, and any place," said Dennis Mooney.

Four teams from the 738th are assigned overseas at the moment. Others remain on alert for possible deployment.

By the way, the 738th is the only specialized engineering unit in the Air Force.

By Steve Phillips

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