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693rd ISRG returns to its roots

After years of waiting, U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Brown, 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing commander, and Col. Tracy Ward, 693rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group commander, cut the ribbon to open the newly-renovated Distributed Ground Station-4 operations facility on Nov. 15, 2017, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

(From left to right) U.S. Air Force Col. Brian Hartless, 86th Civil Engineering Group commander, Senior Airman Cooper Zartman, 693rd Intelligence Support Squadron, Master Sgt. James Philpott, 693rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, Col. Jason Brown, 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing commander, and Col. Tracy Ward, 693rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group commander, cut the ribbon to their newly-remodeled facility Nov. 15, 2017, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Renovations have been in progress since 2011, modernizing the facility’s equipment and maximizing space for operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

After years of waiting, U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Brown, 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing commander, and Col. Tracy Ward, 693rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group commander, cut the ribbon to open the newly-renovated Distributed Ground Station-4 operations facility on Nov. 15, 2017, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

 

The building and the ribbon cutting were special because they not only signified a better facility for Airmen, but also a return to DGS-4’s roots.

 

The new facility is considered the birthplace of DGS-4, since it is where the site began operations in 2002, said Brown. As the group expanded, the facility did not have enough space to support mission growth, thus DGS-4 operations were moved to a temporary location in 2008. The demand for more missions and greater manning led to a renovation project in 2011 to restore the old facility.

 

”Right now, there are Airmen (here) working missions and fighting ISIS,” said Brown. “I’ve just spoken to them, and it was a pleasure to see because we had a vision for so many years, and to see it finally come to life is awesome.”

 

It took a team of teams to get the facility renovated.

 

The 86th Civil Engineering Group worked tirelessly to restore power to the building and approved the Heating and Ventilation Air Conditioning renovation plans through the 86th Airlift Wing, said Ward. Even the 24th and 450th Intelligence Squadrons assisted with the renovation by conducting self-help projects to install raised floors, redo carpeting and repaint rooms.

 

Looking back on all of the improvements, the 693rd recognizes this accomplishment was truly a team effort, and the new facility is a testament to the benefits of collaboration, Ward said.

 

For Brown, who was heavily involved with the renovation plans when he was the 693rd ISRG commander in 2013, said this was the moment he had been waiting for.

 

With better spaces for their Airmen, the 693rd can continue to produce high-quality intelligence products for warfighters across the globe, Brown said. 

 

Ward, who took command of the 693rd ISR Group earlier that day, was effusive in his praise of the project and the efforts behind it.

 

“While I’ve only been the commander of this organization for a few hours, I can tell this operations migration took a lot of time and effort to accomplish, and it means a lot to the women and men of DGS-4,” he said. “I am humbled to be part of this ceremony and honored to lead the 693rd ISR Group. I look forward to working with all of you in taking DGS-4 operations and all of our mission sets to the next level.  May this be the first of many advances for this organization in the months and years to come.”