Beverly Herd 17-3: Comm check

51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs --

During the now concluded Exercise Beverly Herd 17-3 on Sept. 17-23, the 51st Communications Squadron battled and succeeded through mission crippling scenarios ensuring the critical ability of communication, which enables the Mustangs’ ability to “Fight Tonight.”

“Communications support is critical,” said Lt. Col. Patrice Holmes, 51st CS commander. “And we ensure that how we train is realistic and relevant. Everything we have our Airmen doing is purposed and it’s important. If it’s something we need to be doing during an exercise when someone is looking, then we should be doing it every day.”

Over the week long exercise, the “Comm Bats” navigated situations like network intrusions, virus insertions, malicious activity, system outages and network degradation as well as non-comm related issues such as self-aid and buddy care, all while in and out of chemical protective suits and gas masks.

The 51st CS also provided defense to their facility, putting up defensive fighting positions and an entry control point manned with their own Airmen, who have been trained by security forces and armed from 51st CS’s own armory, just like they would do in a real-world scenario.

“I believe that exercises are a good test of knowledge,” said Staff Sgt. James Jackson, 51st CS client systems technician. “They give people the realization that we need to be able to be ready at a moment’s notice, and I think we definitely have the capability to do that.”

With around 270 personnel, the squadron ensures its dominance of the communications realm through three core sections: Operations Flight, Plans and Programs Flight and the new 365 Wing Cyber Ready Cell.

“We don’t do communications for communications sake, we do it for the sake of this mission and the Air Forces mission,” said Holmes. “The men and women of the 51st CS understand their why. They understand their value to this mission, and they don’t want to see it fail. They know it’s a must go mission.”