And Unusual

There’s a new term for airmen and others working outside their specialties—they are filling joint service solution taskings. (We don’t know if this term replaces or simply supplements in-lieu-of taskings.) One such airman is MSgt. John Blackburn, an aerospace control and warning systems operator deployed to Iraq from Tyndall AFB, Fla., as an electronic warfare officer assigned to an Army battalion. Blackburn ensures that the battalion convoys have an operational Warlock electronic warfare system before they hit the road. Warlock systems, says Blackburn, are “a life-saving countermeasure” that emit a signal to prevent insurgents from remotely detonating an improvised explosive device. Blackburn and his Army partner, SSgt. Tim Carlson, ensure the systems are functioning properly and “jamming the correct frequencies,” said Blackburn. If not, they fix them on the spot or send them to the Warlock shop for repair. Blackburn also trains soldiers on the use of the Warlock, including making field fixes. (Ali Base report by TSgt. Francesca Popp)