by Staff Sgt. David Dobrydney
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
4/8/2013 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- Even high in the air, they have their ears close to the ground.
Linguists from the 41st Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron, are
trained in the art of employing electronic attack for the purpose of
denying, degrading and disrupting enemy communications from aboard the
EC-130 Compass Call.
"We're a precision electronic attack platform," said Tech. Sgt. Dallas
Allen, a cryptologic language analyst with the 41st EECS. "We can go out
and ... stop (the enemy) from communicating with each other."
When on a mission, the Airmen of the Compass Call employ precision
electronic attack capabilities in support of U.S. and coalition tactical
air, surface and special operations forces.
"You really have to have a lot of confidence in yourself when it comes
to identifying certain kinds of communications," Allen said. "Sometimes
you'll be listening and think 'did I just hear him say that, or did I
expect him to say that?'"
The linguists' confidence comes from the amount of practice they go through while at home station, Allen said.
"We have to spend hours in the listening lab studying our language," he
said. "We go to simulations and that's where we're able to hone our
skills. We listen to known communications so we can practice identifying
The linguist career field is relatively small and with the group of
linguists who fly, even smaller. Allen said there are probably less than
Given the size of the career field, the linguists have shorter
deployments than other Airmen. However, their time spent at home is
shorter as well, Allen said.
"It's a leapfrog effect," he said. "We're constantly out here."
The missions can last anywhere from two to 15 hours, based on the need of troops on the ground.
"Some nights we might not have anything, other nights we may be
extremely busy," Allen said. "When we get feedback from (the ground
troops) ... it makes you feel like we're really coming together as a