Can You Beat It?

Following a call at 2 a.m., SSgt. Ray Stetler, deployed to Ali Base, Iraq, with the 407th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, resolved an urgent work order to provide a secure voice connection between an MQ-1 Predator pilot deployed to Iraq and the Combined Air and Space Operations Center for a next-day mission. The in-theater pilots had been using an instant messaging system to communicate with the CAOC, which meant they had to take their eyes off their video screens. Stetler came up with a one-dollar fix, literally, the price of two meters of cable. He modified a Predator operator headset, a soldering process that took about five hours, but the work connected the headset to the Voice Over Secure Internet Protocol phone system. The Predator operators just plug the headset into their radio system and call the CAOC. According to Capt. Trey Teasley, a Predator pilot deployed to Det. 1, 41st Expeditionary Reconnaissance and Attack Squadron, being able to use VOSIP “increased productivity by 50 percent.” By the way, Stetler, deployed from Tinker AFB, Okla., had never worked with the VOSIP system before. (Ali Base report by TSgt. Francesca Popp)