I grew up in New Jersey and
wanted to be part of something bigger, so I joined the Navy.
I’ve been in the Navy for 14 years.
I started out as an aviation electrician’s mate [AE] and my first
assignment was at the Aircraft
Intermediate Maintenance Department, Sigonella, Italy. There I performed Intermediate-level equipment repair.
Throughout my career, I had
two tours of duty at VPU- 1 [Special Projects Patrol Squadron One]
at Naval Air Station [NAS] Brunswick, Maine, as a maintenance
maintainer and air crewman.
Seeing a new challenge, I requested
to become an Electronic Warfare
Operator and attend Air Crew
School, SERE [Survival, Evasion,
Resistance and Escape] school and
EP- 3 electronic warfare training at
NAS Whidbey Island, Wash.
I’m now attached to the Center
for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit Whidbey Island as an electronic warfare course instructor.
There is an important aspect of leadership and the mentoring of junior
Sailors required in the role of an
instructor. It’s an important responsibility because you are giving them
their first taste of their professional
field in the Navy. One bad experience could probably set the tone in
the wrong direction for that Sailor.
Right now, I am at Patuxent River
temporarily assigned to the Per-
sistent Maritime Surveillance Pro-
gram Office [PMA-262] as a Tactical
Auxiliary Ground Station [TAGS]
operator for the RQ-4A Broad Area
Maritime Surveillance Demon-
strator [BAMS-D]. What is great
about this aircraft is that it is capa-
ble, with SAR [Synthetic Aperture
Radar] and EO/IR [electro-optical/
Being a TAGS Systems Operator
[TSO] is an easy role to transition
in to. You don’t have to have excep-
tional computer skills. The soft-
ware is easy to understand and you
can flow right into it from working
with P-8s, P-3s or EP-3s.
The TAGS is just one of the
major components to the BAMS-D.
Data that is taken by the air vehicle
is sent to the TAGS, where the crew
members then analyze the vast
number of computer-generated
images, determine what is impor-
tant, and send them out to the end
users in the fleet and elsewhere.
As a TSO, my typical day is
maybe about nine to 10 hours. The
missions tend to be airborne longer
than 24 hours. It’s possible to come
back to my next shift with the same
aircraft in the air. The flow of incoming information is sometimes
like being fed with a fire hose, and
working through that information,
parsing out relevant pieces and
sending it forward to the end user
in the near-real time.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / FEBRUARY 2014
CHIEF NAVAL AIR CREWMAN (AVIONICS)
BAMS TACTICAL AUXILIARY GROUND STATION OPERATOR
PERSISTENT MARITIME SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM OFFICE
NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, MD.
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