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Airmen facilitate 'command and control' at Smoky Mountain Air Show

McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn. -- Airmen from the 119th Command and Control Squadron provided essential communication for the security team at the Smoky Mountain Air Show here April 16-17.

The 119th CACS used their mobile command and control center called the Joint Incident Site Communication Capability Terminal (JISCC), which is a system that allows different types of equipment to interface together to provide communication between different groups.

"We brought our JISC terminal down here to tie in communication between the Blount County Sheriff's Department, Knoxville Police Department, Knoxville Explosive Ordinance Disposal team and the 134th Security Forces Squadron so they could all talk to each other and if something were to happen they are able to direct emergency crews to where they need to be," said Master Sgt. Mark Potter, a cyber transport systems specialist from the 119th Command and Control Squadron.

With such a high volume of people attending the air show, one of the agencies alone would not be able to handle the detail of securing this event and keeping it a safe and fun environment for people to enjoy. All these agencies coming together in a joint force capacity is crucial to the integrity of the event and fosters a greater relationship for civilian and military emergency personnel.

"We have so many people here that one agency just couldn't handle the load, so it's really awesome that we can come together with emergency personnel on the civilian side and use our JISC terminal to allow them to communicate and work together as one," said Potter.

Bringing different organizations together to secure this event does come with challenges. Each of these agencies has their own communications systems and radio frequencies to communicate within their own group. Unfortunately, all of their systems may not be innately compatible. This is where the importance of the 119th CACS's mission comes in.

"We have an ACU 5000 which is a piece of radio equipment." said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Coffman, a satellite, wideband and telemetry systems specialist for the 119th CACS. "The Knoxville Police Dept., Blount County Sheriff's Dept., and the 134th SFS all use different frequencies and channels to communicate with themselves and our ACU 500 bands them all together to allow them all to talk to each other."

The 119th CACS JISC mission is to facilitate the communication between many different organizations no matter the hurdles they may face. It's missions like these that make us stronger as a total force and bring together civilian and military personnel to fulfill the mission.