A 71-member team of airmen with the 5th Combat Communications Group, Robins AFB, Ga., flew into Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan, to await their call to set up communications capability for the Pakistan earthquake relief effort. These combat communications specialists—battlefield airmen—are trained to go into austere environments to set up air traffic control, radio, telephone, and computer capability. (Read our article here.) They came prepared to fan out in Pakistan in small teams of three to four people with backpack satellite radios and wireless computers to coordinate helicopter landings.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.