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Compass Call
An EC-130H Compass Call sits on the flightline at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, while maintainers perform a routine check. The 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron aircrew members have flown more than 5,000 combat hours in support of the war on terrorism. The aircraft and members from the squadron are deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Vince King Jr.)
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 EC-130H Compass Call
Compass Call continues to 'Jam' enemy

Posted 11/1/2006   Updated 11/1/2006 Email story   Print story

by Capt. Vince King Jr.
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

11/1/2006 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- In two years, aircrews in the 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron have flown 5,000 combat hours in support of the war on terrorism.

The squadron has flown more than 940 sorties supporting ground troops here.

This milestone reflects the longest deployment in the squadron's history, said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Bennett, 41st EECS flight engineer. 

The EC-130H Compass Call, a modified version of the C-130 Hercules, provides electronic warfare protection to ground troops. The aircraft and its crew respectively employ offensive counter-information and electronic attack capabilities in support of U.S. and coalition tactical air, surface, and special operations forces.

"It [also] reflects the sustained commitment to bring the terrorists to justice," said Capt. Clay Small, EC-130H weapons officer.

Essentially, the aircraft provides an electronic shield around ground forces. The system prevents the enemy from using many of their technological assets, which could potentially cause harm to ground forces. 

"We've flown these hours with only one known mishap and that was over a year ago," said Capt. Matt Mihalick a 41st EECS pilot. "Given the pace of operations, that's a tremendous feat."

Not only is the mission being accomplished by the aircrew daily, but the maintainers are an important part of the mission as well.

"On numerous occasions, [the maintainers] have changed propellers, engines, made major repairs and we still fly night after night," said Sergeant Bennett. The 41st EECS maintainers have sustained over 95 percent mission capable rate, almost 20 percent over the home station standard.

"What is important is that the planes are ready to fly, ready to jam, every night," said Lt. Col. Dean Worley, the 41st EECS commander.

The fight here means a lot to the Airmen and troops assigned to the 41st, said Master Sgt. Douglas Pike a 41st EECS maintenance production superintendent.

"Being deployed here makes the mission realistic," he said. "Here we see the operations we are directly supporting first hand and know the immediate impact we have."

Each sortie the crew flies and every safe return is a mission accomplished for everyone, he said.

"The 41st EECS is a very lean operation," Colonel Worley said . "What brings success is the tremendous teamwork between operations and maintenance, and every member understanding the importance of our mission--protecting our troops on the ground."

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