Ramstein Airmen complete site survey for future tactical air navigation system
by Airman 1st Class Alexandria Mosness
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
9/22/2009 - CAMP TURZII, Romania (AFNS) -- Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, completed the final site survey for the installation of a tactical air navigation system Sept. 14 through 18 at Camp Turzii, Romania.
During the five-day process, a two-man special communications team from the 1st Communications Maintenance Squadron looked at the site to ensure all the correct materials were ordered and all support completed before they put the entire installation team on the ground next summer.
The special communications teams also includes having to go throughout U.S. Air Forces in Europe and making sure correct procedures are being followed and the equipment is being maintained, said Tech. Sgt. Aaron Tibbits, a 1st CMXS special communications team member.
"It is important we come down here and make sure everything is good to go because a lot of the time the materials we use are from the United States," said Master Sgt. Jerry McDonald, a 1st CMXS special communications team member. "If we didn't do the site survey, it could possibly delay the installation process."
Though it will be several months before they install the TACAN, it will be well worth the wait. Not only will it provide better communication capabilities between the air and ground forces in the area, but also it will help strengthen the bonds between the United States and the host nation.
"I think having the Romanians see us here and work together will definitely help build a better bond," Sergeant Tibbits said. "U.S. forces will be back here to maintain this site, so the Romanians will continue to see us, as we make sure that everything is functioning OK with the TACAN."
And working with the Romanians on this project has had a positive impact not only on the American side.
"I enjoy working with the Americans," said Romanian 2nd Lt. Adrian Diosan, engineer platoon leader. "While I have a very busy job, I always like to take the opportunity to collaborate with the Americans when possible."
But it's not just the benefits that the maintenance and engineers receive -- the whole purpose of the TACAN being in Romania is a benefit for the military forces training in the region.
"There is a lot of training that takes place out here," Sergeant Tibbits added. "It will simulate more of a tactical and combat environment. This is what they are using in Iraq, so while they are out here training, they will be able to see what it will be like downrange."
The job of the special communications team is a difficult one because not only are they gone a lot of the year; but also they have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.
"We repair and maintain navigation, radio and air traffic control equipment," Sergeant Tibbits said. "It is our job to make sure the equipment throughout USAFE is properly maintained. If we do not do our job correctly, there would be no planes in the sky, or worse case scenario, planes could be landing in the wrong spots or the middle of fields. That is why it is so vital we do our job correctly."
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