Recently, the Air Guardsmen of the 215th Engineering and Installation Squadron returned from a deployment to Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. There they set about the business of upgrading the installations command and control infrastructure. The 215th specializes in communications wiring. Their motto... "Through Us You Speak". For over 90 days, phone lines and computer network cabling were the order of the day.
The 215th is an Engineering and Installation Squadron (EIS) of 130 members serving in the Washington Air National Guard. This squadron is located in Everett, Washington, and recently served as the lead unit during the Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) rotations 1 & 2, deploying to Southwest Asia. Through this deployment, the 215th EIS made a significant difference on the world stage of modern advances in technology in the Air Force environment.
The units commander, Col. William P. Canavan, spent 90 days on this deployment from July through October 2000, and an astonishing 37% of the squadrons members volunteered to support Operation Desert Shift from 17 November through 28 February 2001. Operation Desert Shift is an USCINCCENT-directed, USCENTAF-implemented force protection initiative in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The objective of Operation Desert Shift is to consolidate Operation Southern Watch coalition forces at Prince Sultan Air Base.
By relocating Headquarters joint Task Force South West Asia, establish a Combined Air Operations Center, and improve theater coalition partner operations.
The amount of high quality work completed is nothing less than phenomenal. Rotations for 215th EIS personnel ranged from 19 days to 107 days, amazingly serving an equivalency of four man-years during this time frame. This $48 million project involved installation of over 128,000 feet of Category 5 cable, 125,000 feet of cable tray, 160,000 feet of fiber optic zip cord, and over 12,000 feet of exterior copper cable.
The importance of this mission is summarized in a quote from Col. Canavan, "These changes will create the most advanced ops center and change the next generation of warfare."
Col. Canvan sums it up this way... "What were seeing is space age technology putting us on the leading edge of technology for tomorrow."