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The 48th Communications Squadron is breaking through the static

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Almost every organization on base uses land mobile radios. The radios provide assistance in the performance of routine maintenance, give instant access to on call staff and support communication during emergencies. Communication is essential to mission success.

"It would be more difficult to find an organization on base that doesn't use LMR's," said Staff Sgt. Jedidiah Bigler, 48th Communications Squadron ground radio technician.

Without radios, the 48th Security Forces Squadron would have a difficult time communicating while guarding RAF Lakenheath's gates and out on patrol. The 48th Operations Support Squadron's air traffic controllers would have a difficult time contacting aircraft. Even commanders would have a hard time performing the various tasks they do every day. No matter what function the radio is performing, it must be serviced and maintained; that's the responsibility of 48th Communications Squadron's Ground Radio and Land Mobile Radio shop.

Ground radio deals with more than just radios. The shop also works on hand-held radios, office cell phones and the giant voice mass notification system.

"Every time someone uses a radio, we had some part in its operation," said Airman 1st Class Clinton Rowland, 48th CS ground radio technician.

"Three fifths of what we do in the shop is work on the giant voice and perform preventative maintenance inspections," said Airman 1st Class Kyle Ivy, 48th CS ground radio technician.

The Giant Voice system plays an important roll in life on RAF Lakenheath. It is used by the command post to give Force Protection Condition updates to the base. It is also used to play the US and UK national anthems during retreat. In emergency situations the giant voice system is used to issue a warning siren; its proper maintenance is essential.

"We perform inspections on the equipment on a regular basis to try and catch issues with the equipment before it becomes a major problem," said Sergeant Bigler. "If the network manager calls us and a radio is broken, we send it to the contractor for repair." It's ground radio's job to keep accounts and perform PMI's and inspections on the equipment for each office using LMR's. As the point of contact for the 48th CS, it is the network manager's responsibility to keep accountability of LMRs in their shop.

Another resource the shop handles is the public address systems used on base. Ground radio supplies PA systems and technicians for group level events and official military functions. For events lower than group level or non-military functions, the shop loans out PA systems but doesn't supply a technician.

The ground radio shop supports Airmen at home station and on deployments. The different sections that use the tactical radios still need equipment while deployed. "People aren't the only things that deploy," said Sergeant Bigler. "Our tactical radios deploy downrange to help the different sections communicate and get the job done."

The radios are used regularly and play a vital role in the daily operations of RAF Lakenheath. They make important information available instantly to the people who need it, but those radios wouldn't work without the Airmen of the LMR shop who maintain them.