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"Optimism (light) is the power that ultimately defeats fear (darkness)."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Protection from above - EC-130H Compass Call

Shivers all over, that's the least I can say right now! Check this out!

I have supported this "archangel" when I was stationed at Rhein Main AFB, Germany. Knowing that she patrols the skies, blanketing our troops below, kept me in a very restful sleep when I was active duty. I cannot say enough about the role our C-130 hardware has done for the US Military. Coupling the EC-130 with the MC-130 Talon and Talon II birds makes for a bad day - if you are the enemy!

Capt. James H. Cunningham, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, published an article today in Air Force Link News about Compass Call and how she keeps soldiers on the ground, in theater and elsewhere, very safe. Let's just drop a few facts on you from this story. Like, what the platform is most successful at doing:

"The Compass Call essentially provides an electronic shield around ground forces. The shield gives friendly forces freedom to do their job, while denying the enemy the ability to use many of their technological assets. It is a mission that has garnered customer respect."

OK, geek speak, she blankets the field with friendly signals, stripping the enemies use of the airwaves. It is a matter of simple radio signal ... OK, I'll stop now. Look, just try running your old 1.5 Cubic foot microwave, WiFi LAN, and talk on your 2.4GHz telephone all at once! Get the picture! Oh yeah, that's the ticket.

This is not her only function. When I was transitioning from USAFE (Rhein Main AFB) to SAC (Offutt AFB) we were going whole-hog into JTIDS (Joint Tactical Information Distribution System). Compass Call's new, not so new but heightened, role makes JTIDS a small Fisher-Price Walkie Talkie! We're so connected now, as Mr. T used to say, "I pity the fool!" if they mess with us. Sheesh, USAF alone, put GlobalHawk and Predators in the air, the FA-22, U-2, E-3 Sentry, AC-130H Spectres and AC-130U U-Boat/Spooky IIs, MC-130 Talon IIs, and EC-130 Compass Calls ... stand back 'cause the US Air Force is coming - you just can't see us.

Now, link all this support up with the US Army and US Marine Corps battlefield command systems and COMMS! Which, in turn, links to MH-53s and MH-60s, Cobras, Blackhawks, M1-A1/2 Abrams, UAVs ... oh, man ... I need not go on, you get the picture.

One more thing from Capt. Cunningham's article:

"Providing an umbrella of electronic protection over ground forces has become the role of EC-130H Compass Call aircraft here."

"But since November 2004, the 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron has taken that role to the next level by supporting more than 1,500 air support requests, or ASRs."

And as Lt. Col. Dean “Clean” Worley, the squadron commander says in this article:

“We are essentially providing electronic close-air support”

You might see a C-130 one day, on the tarmac, and you just might give her a pass. I mean, let's be honest, she's old! But the C-130 4-prop has been the mainstay of US Air Force hardware. You cannot deny that in the role she plays as the EC-130, there is no substitute - and a serious threat if she no longer played that role. Her closest sibling is the new C-130J - a 6-prop airframe (uh-huh, I said 6-prop). Herc enthusiasts love the pre-J model because she has carried them from place to place, and way back when, to safety. Their love is very deep and you can experience some of that love at the C-130 Hercules HQ Message Board. And, teams still using her like the 7th SOS know just how important, and loved, this "archangel" is to them.

She may be slow, she may be old, but she watches over you and gets you there safe. Gotta love her!

Stay Tuned to ...


At 10/28/2005 05:46:00 PM, Blogger Sara said...

We flew in a C-130 in and out of Baghdad in 2003, first landing in Mosul and then our final destination at BIAP. There was certainly nothing like I experienced on our take-off out of there... 10 o'clock at night, pitch black, couldn't see my hand in front of my face, watching the anti-rocket flares shoot out from the plane as we flew up and out of there as fast and furious as that plane could take us! I loved the C-130! :)

At 10/28/2005 07:12:00 PM, Blogger LinkedInUSAF said...

If there were all kinds a "fireworks" shooting out from the side of the plane, you were fortunate enough to be on a very special C-130 ... either a Talon/Talon II ... !!! All depends on the AF SOS group that was moving your team around.

Oh, those were the days ... :)

I LOVE personal stories of being on Air Force planes! Always gives me goosebumps!

At 11/04/2005 08:05:00 AM, Blogger Cowboy Blob said...

Just surfed in from Citizen Smash's blog. Nice site! I flew with Compass Call for a few years and though I never got to ride her toward the sound of guns, I got to watch her and the rest of the Wild Blue USAF Crew sweep Milosevic's air force out of the sky from my office in Arizona. I wish I could have stayed in the EC-130H community longer, but the USAF had other ideas.

For as uncomfortable as the aircraft was, I miss the camaraderie of being on a good mission crew supported by a good flight crew.

At 11/04/2005 08:18:00 AM, Blogger LinkedInUSAF said...

Thanks for stoppin' by, Cowboy Blob!

I worked on Compass Call and Talon I birds at Rhein Main. I can completely relate to the whole, "wish I could have stayed" ... but then I would never had the chance to work on the E-4A/B, SR-71, and the U-2/TR-1 ...


It's like something you just can't get out of you, ya know?!


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