News>Feature - Vipers secure communication for distinguished visitors
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Tech Sgt. Paul Hagood monitors a Mobile Viper System while on a C-17 Globemaster on an air base here Feb 19. Sergeant Hagood can monitor the aircraft position, signal strength, and equipment status. He is deployed to the 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron from the 50th Space Communications Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Johnny L. Saldivar)
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Staff Sgt. Roland Bazan performs an operational check of the secure Internet network on a C-17 Globemaster here Feb 19. Sergeant Hagood ensures everything is operable before the C-17 takes off. He is deployed to the 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron from the 50th Space Communications Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Johnny L. Saldivar)
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Staff Sgt. Roland Bazan connects network cables to a Mobile Viper System while on a C-17 here Feb 19. He ensures distinguished visitors will have secure and non-secure internet access while on the aircraft. Sergeant Bazan is deployed to the 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron from the 690th Intelligence Support Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Johnny L. Saldivar)
by Senior Airman Tong Duong
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
2/25/2008 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- A top-level government official sends a Top Secret e-mail routed through numerous interconnected computer networks from 30,000 feet, confident as she does so that the message will reach its intended audience without interruption or risk.
Every day, our nation's leaders transverse the globe to conduct mission-critical operations. When they require secure communications during flight, a team known as the Vipers provides that support.
"Some aircraft don't have the defensive communication capabilities necessary for high-threat areas," said Tech. Sgt. Charles Brown, a 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron satellite communications maintenance mobile viper team member. "The Viper system allows DVs to maintain communication with the world when they travel throughout an area such as the Middle East and Persian Gulf region, no matter what aircraft they travel in."
According to Sergeant Brown, who is deployed from the 50th Space Communications Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., the Mobile Viper System is a roll-on communications package that deploys in support of the U.S. Central Command commander and designated high level distinguished visitors. The system typically deploys with two communication systems operators, three primary system cases and two ancillary cases.
Together, this provides DVs with secure and non-secure data and voice capability and access to secure and non-secure internet protocol router networks during flight.
"When we are tasked for an assignment, we roll our system onto the aircraft, install it and operate it for the duration of the mission," Sergeant Brown said. "We are like a mini communications squadron because we run their cables and make sure their computers can access the Internet."
Staff Sgt. Roland Bazan, a 379th ECS Mobile Viper Team tech controller deployed from Lackland Air Force Base, Texas said, some of the unique aspects of his job include traveling and meeting people.
"Getting to travel the region and seeing other countries is not something you normally do in a tech control job. For example, Sergeant Brown and I flew to Turkey to support a visit by Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice," Sergeant Bazan said. "She made it a point to meet every Airman on the plane and thanked him or her for serving."
"Providing secure communication to DVs who have an impact on the war on terrorism and current world events is the best part of this job."