20 May 2010

Visit to Naval Beach Group TWO and TACAMO Air Wing


In a continuing effort to build my situational awareness of what it takes to get the job done at the deckplate level in our Navy, I recently visited Naval Beach Group TWO (CNBG-2) at Little Creek and the TACAMO Air Wing on Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. I thoroughly enjoyed my visits and want to thank each of the units for their exceptional hospitality. The experiences were very educational and I found the Sailors from Naval Beach Group TWO and TACAMO executing their missions with pride, professionalism, and a strong “can do” attitude. Both are among the relatively unsung communities of our Navy, but both have extraordinary operational impact.
CNBG-2 is comprised of four subordinate commands – Beachmaster Unit TWO, Amphibious Construction Battalion TWO, Assault Craft Unit FOUR, Assault Craft Unit TWO – that provide the personnel and equipment to deliver ship-to-shore capabilities and support a whole range of missions from traditional amphibious operations to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Most recently, CNBG-2 commands supported Operation Unified Response in Haiti by constructing temporary piers, delivering bulk water and food, medical supplies, and equipment, just to name a few. Providing the LOTS capability that I previously wrote about here is one of the primary missions of CNBG-2. The following video provides a great report on ACB-2 utilizing our LOTS capability to support the relief effort in Haiti.  Click here to view the video.

TACAMO (Take Charge and Move Out) is a unique Air Wing that resides on Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. Strategic Communications Wing One provides operational control and administrative support for Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons Three (VQ-3), Four (VQ-4), Seven (VQ-7) and various training units. The TACAMO mission traces its roots back to the early 1960’s when the concept was originally employed as a temporary solution to maintain essential communications in the event of a nuclear strike by the Soviets. At the time, Soviet missiles were so accurate against land-based targets that it was decided that an air-based communications system was necessary to ensure survivable communications in the event of a strike. Soon after, TACAMO became a permanent solution and they’ve been on mission ever since.

Today they fly 16 E-6B Mercury aircraft and remain on alert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide assured command and control between our leaders and our strategic nuclear deterrent platforms. One very interesting thing I learned during my trip is that our TACAMO Sailors performed convoy communications missions over Iraq from October 2009 to April 2009. For thirty months, they relayed critical and urgent information such as IED detonations and medical requests for convoys that found themselves out of radio contact. Their impact was very well known throughout Logistics Support Area Anaconda, and there is no doubt that what they did there made a significant contribution to successfully accomplishing the convoy mission and saving many lives in the process.
All the best, JCHjr

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic piece. As a Navy contractor with only 6-7 years of experience working with the Navy, it's humbling to read that you continue to build your SA after 37-year of active duty. We work in a massive organization that is vital not only to our country, but to the world as your blog entry describes. Thanks for continuing to communicate like this.