The freqs of Keesler AFB
By Chief Petty Officer Noah Lowe, 333rd Training Squadron
/ Published June 01, 2015
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Freqs are all around us!
Freqs, or radio frequencies, are used in everyday gadgets like cell phones, wireless routers, garage door openers and automobile key fobs. In the military, we use frequencies for vital command and control communications, imagery, ballistic missile control, fire control radars, reconnaissance drones and IP services. Have you ever wondered how we reached this point and how all of these things are able to work together?
Let's look at the history of radio communications. In the early 20th Century, Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian radio pioneer, made the first transmission using radio waves. Shortly after, Marconi began building high powered stations on both sides of the Atlantic to communicate with ships at sea.
The ship was equipped with telegraphy transmitters and receivers that were manned by 2 radio operators, employed by Marconi, and they provided 24-hour telegraph messaging services. In 1912, the Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean, marking it as one of the deadliest commercial disasters in modern history.
Fortunately, the ship was equipped with telegraphy transmitters and receivers that were manned by two of Marconi's radio operators who provided 24-hour telegraph messaging services. Their ability to transmit distress signals resulted in 705 passengers' lives being saved by a rescue ship that picked up the signals.
The Titanic tragedy led to the United States Radio Act of 1912, which mandated seafaring vessels to monitor distress frequencies, and helped advance the technology from telegraphs and emergency signals to broadcast radio, notably during World War I, and space exploration in the 60s.
Today, with nearly 300 billion radio frequencies spanning the spectrum, it's vital for America to have skilled members managing this important asset.
The Inter-service Radio frequency Management School was originally established in 1974 at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Missouri. By 1980, the school moved to Keesler, and in 1994 became a part of Air Education and Training Command.
Today, the Spectrum Operations Apprenticeship Course and Joint Task Force Spectrum Management course are hosted by the 333rd Training Squadron.
Far evolved from Marconi's radio operators of old, the nearly 2,500 graduated spectrum managers, nicknamed "Spectrum Freqs," provide vital assistance to operational commanders to control and dominate the electronic spectrum.
These specialized service members ensure radio frequencies flawlessly work together. From mobile phones, radio and television broadcasting to satellite communications systems, managing the cluttered airwaves is a full-time job.
Duties include building communication plans, interference resolution and signal direction finding. The skills they learn here will translate to a deployed environment too as they may be tasked with de-conflicting and tracking thousands of frequencies in a deployed location.
The 333rd TRS is focused on providing the best spectrum training possible to our joint students, whose skills save lives and ensure the fight is carried on to our enemies.
As a core part in our quest for cyberspace superiority, Keesler's spectrum manager graduates fill a critical niche in the Air Force's peacetime and wartime efforts.