Ten 488th IS Airmen 'hang around' during climbing certification

RAF MILDENHALL, England -- A squadron from Germany who teaches tower rescue training and climbing certification to Air Force units across Europe recently gave a few pointers to Team Mildenhall's 488th Intelligence Squadron. 

"This training will give them the ability to help if someone gets stuck or there's an injury on a tower," said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Bayne, 488th Intelligence Squadron communications and electronics maintenance craftsmen. "It also gives (the 488th IS) the basic applied knowledge that they will be able to perform maintenance safely and according to all the (Air Force Instructions) and guidelines on the tower." 

The 1st Communications Maintenance Squadron Airmen, from Kapaun Air Station, Germany, provided the training to 10 people from the 488th Aug. 1 through 3. The first day was classroom training where Airmen learned things like tying knots. The second two days were for hands-on experience and certification. 

"For most of these guys (in the 488th IS) it's the first time they've ever experienced climbing," Sergeant Bayne said. "It's imperative that they become competent, and that they get good instruction." 

The training consisted of certifying Airmen to climb towers and providing safety training, according to Tech. Sgt. Branden DeMotts, 1st CMXS cable and antenna special maintenance team member. 

"We train any unit that has to do any type of climbing, or anyone that maintains any type of structure they need to climb," Sergeant DeMotts said. 

"Everyone who took the training is certified to rescue stranded personnel," Sergeant Bayne said. "The instructors went over the safety aspects and equipment used. They taught us anything you'd want to know about climbing. It also gives (the 488th IS) the basic applied knowledge that they will be able to perform maintenance safely and according to (Air Force Instructions) and tower guidelines." 

The training is an essential tool for the Airmen who maintain the communications towers on base. It provides them with the knowledge to service the towers in the safest possible way. 

"We maintain various types of antennas that are linked to different mission-critical systems, and we come out to (perform preventative maintenance)," Sergeant Bayne said. "With the weather here, a lot of times we have to redirect and re-point them. We have to make sure we have plenty of people trained to go up on the towers."