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August Commander's Corner

Lt. Col. Robert "Shane" Gainous, 245th Air Traffic Control Squad

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert “Shane” Gainous, the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron commander at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, July 25, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Caycee Watson)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

When I transitioned to the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron, I began a new journey of learning what, who, why, and how another mission operates. Fortunately for me, we have a great team and I value the challenges that come with all things new. For my introductory Commander’s Corner article, I would like to share the mission and capabilities of the 245th ATCS. I believe it is beneficial for all of us to understand the different organizations so we can educate others on the opportunities that the South Carolina Air National Guard has to offer.

“The mission of the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron is to maintain combat-capable Unit Type Codes comprised of proficient, professional Airmen that stand by ready for mobilization to war and capable, flexible Force Packages in support of the Governor during State Contingency Operations.” From our mission statement, you can see that we have an equally important focus on our federal and state mission sets.

The 245th ATCS federal mission is to support tactical aircraft by providing ATC capabilities in austere environments with a small logistical footprint. We are 1 of 10 Deployable Air Traffic Control and Landing System (DATCALS) units in the Air National Guard. We are equipped with a mobile radar, tower and navigational aid systems to facilitate rapid mobility and provide nearly 70 percent of the U.S. Air Force deployable ATC capability. We are authorized 95 manning positions comprising of 12 different Air Force Specialty Codes tasked to maintain and support 18 different deployable UTCs. Our skillsets contribute to the current fight and will likely have an expanded role in how we execute wars in the future. Since the start of the war on terrorism after the 9-11 attacks, the 245th has been tasked with 14 combat deployments in 10 different countries in southwest Asia. We currently have 16 Airmen deployed supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. 

Our state mission is to provide ATC personnel, equipment, and capabilities during domestic contingency operations. We can support this mission set in numerous ways, utilizing our fixed and/or our mobile systems and support equipment. Our fixed equipment can support McEntire JNGB operations, helping it become a key aerodrome for supporting contingency operations. Also, we can provide personnel only or mobile equipment to augment ATC operations at an already established airfield if needed. Additionally, with our mobile systems, we could stand up controlled airfield operations at a forward location that was previously uncontrolled. The SCANG’s support for domestic operations has increased in recent years and the 245th is proud to have been able to be a key contributor. In addition to the support provided during the storms in South Carolina, the squadron sent personal to two locations in Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. We also participate in exercises such as Vigilant Guard and conduct annual training deployments for additional training opportunities to better prepare us for the next event.

Overall, the 245th ATCS is an outstanding squadron and I am honored to be a member. We provide critical capabilities that have a tremendous impact on the SCANG’s federal and state missions. I ask your help in spreading the word about the 245th ATCS and the opportunities that exist. We do have positions available in the squadron and offer training in a large number of occupational areas:  Air Traffic Control, Airfields Systems Maintenance, Radar Maintenance, Radio Repair, Power Production, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Administrative, Personnel, Logistics, Supply, and Safety. The training received in these military positions also translates to civilian career fields within other organizations such as the Federal Aviation Administration and most civilian companies. If you have an interest in the 245th ATCS or know of someone that does, please come by and we can discuss opportunities.