I have interviewed an expert in the Air Force communications field. He has 18 years or more experience in the field. Most of what is done in the Air Force can't be done without comm. support - and the operational commanders know it. He has done AIA (Intel), H.F., V.H.F., U.H.F., SATCOM, mobility, A.T.C., P.A., and Q.A. He has done it from the airmen side to the NCOIC side.
"I was Chief of the Systems Flight at MacDill A.F.B. when it was still home of the 56th Comm. Squadron. We had all the functions you mentioned above, plus the base telephone company, weather radars, NAVAIDS, DMSP, and a couple of others that might have slipped my mind. On the HF side, we had transmitter, receiver, and antenna maintenance, plus HF ops, and a MARS station that was just absolutely off the map during Operation Desert Storm."
"Currently NCOIC is a ground radio shop. In only 8 years I've been exposed to everything from H.F. to E.H.F. systems. You just don't see many A.F.S.C.'s that can vary so much base to base. And, without any undue modesty, our people are some of the best. All you have to do is attend a few Leadership School and NCO Academy graduations and keep track of where the Distinguished Grads and Honor Grads come from. You'll find that the trend is (in no particular order) Comm. guys (various AFSCs); Air Traffic Control (tower flowers usually do well, too); and Med/Hospital."
"Current HF radio configurations. When I was at MacDill, we had a GCCS site. Our H.F. Radio Ops and Receivers were co-located at one site; transmitters were down the road and across the base, with a couple of miles of separation between RX and TX, to minimize cross-talk."
"There are some ground radio operator from 1969-73 in Vietnam. A.F.S.C. then went to 293x0 which changed to 293x3 later on. They went to the air borne radio from 1973-78 then back to ground while in Germany. Finish my carier in Combat Crew Communications at F.E Warren AFB."
"The new Ground Radio course is 73 academic days (14.6 weeks) long with 9 hr. class days. Add the 7 weeks of Electronics Principles and there's your grand total (21.6 weeks). This does not mean that's how long you'll be at Keesler because that is the minimum amount of time to complete the school and you will learn that you're training status varies from time to time and may slow your progression through training. Also, the course is subject to change because this is more or less an experiment until they get everything the way they want it."
"From the last time that I had heard of it is shorter because it's a tactical course yes, but no merger yet. That's been in the rumor mill for a while. But when you go to this school you need to consider holidays and Christmas exodus for training as well. My training is only 27 weeks but a guy told me it took him 7 or 8 months. I all depends on what course you take and how well your unit dose on that course. But some of them have had to take up to ten extra mouths at school just to finish there course."
"Some people expect to hear of the merger w/ Satcom pretty soon. The civilian at Keesler in charge of 2E training came up to my tech school (I was an instructor for Satcom/Wideband) and said the only reason the merger hasn't really gotten a head of steam yet was the hurricane. That pushed everything to the back burner. But expect the head of steam to pick up (if it hasn't already)."