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Communication: The key to success

Airman 1st Class Odie Ruddell, 325th Communications Squadron cable and antenna systems technician, repairs an optical fiber Feb. 11 at building 649. These fibers transfer data more than 1,000 times faster than traditional copper wire and each fiber can support up to 2 million phone lines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

Airman 1st Class Odie Ruddell, 325th Communications Squadron cable and antenna systems technician, repairs an optical fiber Feb. 11 at building 649. These fibers transfer data more than 1,000 times faster than traditional copper wire and each fiber can support up to 2 million phone lines. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

Airman 1st Class Tyler Crowson, 325th Communication Squadron client systems technician, plugs in a cable as he troubleshoots a desktop computer Feb. 11 at the 325th CS annex. As a CST, Crowson is tasked with fixing computers when problems arise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

Airman 1st Class Tyler Crowson, 325th Communication Squadron client systems technician, plugs in a cable as he troubleshoots a desktop computer Feb. 11 at the 325th CS annex. As a CST, Crowson is tasked with fixing computers when problems arise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Wagner, 325th Communications Squadron NCO in-charge of radio frequency transmissions systems, aligns a radio modulator at the RF transmissions shop here. These radios enable communication between ground units and aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Wagner, 325th Communications Squadron NCO in-charge of radio frequency transmissions systems, aligns a radio modulator at the RF transmissions shop here. These radios enable communication between ground units and aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen/Released)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Computers, phones and radios; these are commonly known to be maintained by the 325th Communications Squadron. But the role of this diverse squadron extends far beyond that.

The 325th CS mission is to provide superior Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) system support and information services for Team Tyndall and worldwide operations.

The squadron encompasses a vast array of duties, each vital to maintaining the Tyndall mission. This includes support for computers, phones, radio transmissions, the network and now some newly added responsibilities safeguarding mission critical components like the F-22 Raptor. With rapidly changing technology, the squadron is constantly adapting.

"We have multiple work centers with unique focuses and specialties and without the services that we provide to Team Tyndall no one could communicate efficiently. Missions wouldn't happen and planes wouldn't fly," said Senior Master Sgt. Lisa Spicer, 325th CS Superintendent of the Plans and Resources Flight. "I don't think a lot of people realize [our roles]."

Currently, the squadron prides itself as Information Technology professionals. But as the squadron transitions itself into "Communications Squadron Next," they are gearing up to become cyberspace warriors. This means pulling the main focus from servicing jobs to mission fixated jobs.

"Tyndall is taking a leading role in that transformation as we are one of 16 pilot squadrons in the Air Force, the only in Air Combat Command to help develop, guide and transform the communications squadrons," Spicer said. "The focus for CSN is moving from providing core services, to focus on core missions, and here on Tyndall, that is the F-22 Raptor."

The days of defending the network will soon be the past. As for the future, the squadron is focusing on being cyberspace experts, defending from cyberattacks and keeping F-22s safe and in the air, she continued.

"It's an exciting time to be in the 325th CS," said Lt. Col. Ofayo V. Kingsberry, 325th CS commander. "Our functional community is in the midst of a major transformation that is redefining how we provide cyberspace support to the Air Force. As ACC's pilot unit, we have a unique opportunity to help shape the future of cyberspace operations within the Air Force. I'm extremely fortunate to be at Tyndall and to be leading the men and women of the 325th CS during this time of change."

The new changes may affect several Air Force Specialty Codes within the squadron, and will possibly realign communications support functions under other squadrons and/or groups. The full extent of these changes has not been determined. Most of these changes will not be seen until late 2017, and are always subject to change.

"The 325th CS has created a special missions flight in which we have taken a diverse group of technicians to lead this initiative, a Cyber Protection Team," Spicer said. "As our focus is on the F-22, we have to reach out, and are currently working with, the 325th Operations Group, 325th Maintenance Group, to identify processes and equipment that is used to make the F-22 fly to ensure that we capture where it can be exploited."

Each of the nine sections within the squadron has a specific and specialized responsibility. These sections include cyber transport systems, cyber systems operations, knowledge operations management, client service center, radio frequency transmissions and spectrum management, cable and antenna systems, cybersecurity office, plans and resources, and quality assurance.

"I'm impressed with the dedication, skill and professionalism of the 325th CS team," Kingsberry said. "The majority of the support we provide to the base is transparent; but when there is an outage they work 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, and 365-days a year to ensure services are restored. No complaints, no questions asked; just mission focused support. I could not ask for a better team, they are true Air Force professionals."