'Cable Dawgs' provide Kadena airfield with fiber optics

'Cable Dawgs' provide Kadena airfield with fiber optics

by Airman 1st Class Keith James, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Varying from a 35-foot flat-bed trailer to one of their cable reel trucks, multiple vehicles began to line up at one of Kadena Air Base's entry control points where more than 15 'Cable Dawgs' gather and prepare for a hard day of cable laying.

Members of the 18th Communications Squadron radio in to the control tower to gain access to the 18th Wing's massive flightline, and made their way toward the airfield's centerline road.

"Start the trencher," instructed Staff Sgt. Adam Sorchi, 18th CS cables and antenna systems supervisor, during the phase one process of installing fiber optics to the air field.

The trencher, construction equipment used to dig trenches especially for laying pipes or cables began to rip its way through the dirt as the cable dawgs lay down fiber optic cable wire into the newly-dug trench stretching over five miles in length.

Getting down and dirty and utilizing unique equipment like the trencher, the cable dawgs use their allotted time on the airfield to complete the two--phase job of upgrading the airfield from wired cable to fiber optics.

"It takes a lot of dedication and a special kind of person to do the type of work we do day in and out," said Tech. Sgt David Hollars, 18th CS, NCO in charge of cables and antenna systems, about the Cable Dawg Airman.

Installing more than 28,000 feet of direct fiber cables underground into five shelters housing the airfield's localizers, glide scopes, its vortac, and a VHF Omni-Directional Radio Range-Tactical air navigation aid the fiber optics will replace the 20-to 30-year-old copper circuits the airfield is currently utilizing.

The new installment will upgrade the infrastructure and allow the airfield to receive remote maintenance and system updates from the regional maintenance center located at Yokota Air Base, Japan, where they monitor all Pacific Air Forces navigational aids.

"The facilities are vital navigational aids and require a reliable communication infrastructure," Hollars said.

The new infrastructure will help prevent weathering of the cables, offer faster speeds and reliability and modernize the airfields navigational aids. These critical navigational aids assist with the aligning of the aircraft with the runway during control landings and take-offs.

"It's a team effort," said Hollars. "We've had phenomenal support from our sister airfield maintenance back shops and Master Sgt. Donald Alexander, 18th Operation Support Squadron and his airfield management team, enabling us to gain access and run cable where it is needed."

The tentative completion date for the cabling infrastructure portion of the project is set for May 1, and the overall completion date set for fall 2014.

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