Rain or shine, 239th CCS Airmen support Camp Clark AT Week

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brittany Cannon
  • 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Airmen of the Missouri Air National Guard's 239th Combat Communications Squadron received real-world experience while supporting a two-week training exercise at Camp Clark, near Nevada, Missouri, beginning May 15.

The 239th is supporting more than 180 Airmen from 131st Bomb Wing units across the state here to train for state emergency duty.

"The training at Camp Clark gives us real customers to support and the ability to work the process of setting up from start to finish," said Capt. Michael Durbin, 239th CCS support flight commander and deployed commander during the Annual Training. "Our Airmen and equipment are all-weather."

The Airmen experienced significant rainfall in the first days of the training. Despite the rain, the 239th was able to establish communications for radio and internet services, similar to their real-world requirements in potential flood response emergencies. The Airmen also work hard to ensure safety standards are met and people have what they need in terms of communication, said Durbin.

"The training at Camp Clark is a win-win for us; it gives us actual customers and a sense of realism," he said.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Poston, a radio frequency transmission craftsman assigned to the 239th, said that adverse weather with lightning can slow the process, but only for safety reasons.

"It's beneficial going from boxes on pallets to a full set-up," said Poston, whose job is to set up the antennae needed to establish communications. "Being a Guard member, we do our job two days a month," said Poston. "The mission doesn't happen if we can't get the antennae for communications running."

During any given mission or training environment, the 239th provides radio communications, non-secure and secure internet protocol nets, commercial Wi-Fi, secure military phone lines and morale connections. 

With a full team of eight to ten personnel, the 239th can have communication capabilities up and running within four hours if activated by the governor to respond to state emergencies such as flood, tornado or other natural disasters. During state emergency duties, the 239th uses its communication capabilities to support local civil authorities such as law enforcement and emergency services, as well as other National Guard units.

"At Jefferson Barracks most of our equipment is already set up and staged, so you don't really get the full experience from beginning to end until we come to this training or perform real-world support," said Poston.

No matter when that time may come, the 239th is ready to answer the governor's call, said Durbin.

"The push-through of our Airmen is unmatched," he said. "They will work throughout the night until everything is set up and ready to go."