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Press Release
February 11, 2002
Oregon Air Guard provides communications support at Olympics
 
PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore. - Military members from two Oregon Air National Guard units are providing radio communications support for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah as part of a security effort to improve communications during the two-week event. 
 
Members from the Portland-based 272nd Combat Communications Squadron and the 244th Combat Communications Squadron are filling four key command and control positions at the Joint Operations Center (a function of Joint Task Force-Olympics) located at the Utah National Guard Headquarters until late March. The Guard members, most of whom are working in two-week (minimum) rotations, are providing communications support and are primarily responsible for operating tactical satellite radio equipment and programming/monitoring land mobile radios.
 
Oregon is one of 22 states deploying National Guard members to the Salt Lake City region in support of a national security effort to ensure the spectators, athletes, and employees at the games are as safe and secure as possible. The Guard members are working alongside Navy, Marines, Army, and Air Force personnel at the JOC, said Lt. Col. Gary Takis, 272 CBCS commander. 
 
"It's good for our folks to get exposed to this type of joint service operation because it gives them the challenge and opportunity to think on their feet while working in a demanding environment, " said Takis. "They are working with people they've never met before and getting fantastic communications operations experience." 
 
Master Sgt. Ron Coughlin, 272 CBCS team chief for the tactical satellite operation in Utah, agrees the experience has been a satisfying and rewarding one. 
 
 "We're working in a rapidly changing, high tempo environment that is stressful, but overall very satisfying," Coughlin said. "It's a great feeling to know our efforts are directly related to the end product-communication during the Olympics." 
 
The efforts and contributions of the Oregon Air National Guard members have been appreciated and recognized by the leaders of the Joint Task Force-Olympics, the top-level brass spearheading the military's involvement at the games, said Takis. 
 
And for good reason. The Oregon Air Guard helped out in a big way. 
 
Tech. Sgt. Robb Phillips, a 272 CBCS member, deployed to the Salt Lake City area in January and was able to detect a major problem with the existing land-mobile-radio network. Phillips, who (in his civilian job) is employed full-time as the operations manager for Seattle-based Day Wireless Communications, was able to use his military and civilian technical expertise to re-engineer the entire network system. 
 
The system changes required 800 land-mobile-radios to be re-programmed, radio equipment to be re-installed or re-oriented, and a repeater site to be added. The Oregon Guard members were instrumental in making the necessary corrections and were able to get the network system functioning prior to the start of the Olympic Games. Today, military members (security forces personnel, emergency personnel, and logistics support agency workers) serving in support of Olympic security are able to communicate between their venues and the JOC using hand held radios without any problems. 
 
Approximately 5,000 active duty and Guard personnel from across the nation are providing routine support during the Olympic games, which the U.S. Attorney General has designated a national special security event.
 
Contact:
 
Capt Mike Braibish
503-584-3886,
cell 503-932-5805
 
Kay Fristad
503-584-3917
cell 503-931-5179