McConnell comm squadron earns best shop in DoD

22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 22nd Communications Squadron pose for a group photo Oct. 28, 2016, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. The 22nd CS earned the highest achievement possible by earning the 2016 Category I Defense Information Systems Agency Defense Information Systems Network Facility of the Year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor Rhynes)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. – The 22nd Communications Squadron earned the highest achievement possible by winning the 2016 Category I Defense Information Systems Agency Defense Information Systems Network Facility of the Year. 


The 77 Airmen and eight civilians assigned to the squadron make up 13 different specialties. Together they bested all other units in their category throughout the Department of Defense. Despite the name, the award isn’t actually based on the facility itself but the efforts of the communications unit. 

“The reason it’s named a ‘DISA Facility of the Year’ is so that other smaller units can compete such as tenant base and even bigger ones such as network operations centers,” said Chief Master Sgt. William Barnett, 22nd CS superintendent. 

The squadron proved to be innovative and reliable. Last year, Gen. Darren W. McDew, U.S. Transportation Command commander, personally recognized the network operations shop with an honorary award, TRANSCOM Innovator Award, and they were lauded as having Air Mobility Command’s best large equipment shop. 

“I could not be more proud of the personnel of this unit and for the recognition this squadron has received,” said Maj. Thomas Grant, 22nd CS commander. “Sometimes it is difficult to get the recognition of all the things we do on base, this highlights some of the great things that my teammates and I have accomplished.” 

An example of their innovation and improvement of security is their management of their cell phones. 

“Another thing we do differently from other bases are our cell phones,” he said. “When we issue out cell phones to the senior leaders, first sergeants, commanders and chiefs, we to make sure that they are maintained, working right and have their email and certificates loaded email to give that extra finesse.” 

Grant credits his front-line supervisors throughout the squadron’s 12 work centers for their accomplishments.

“They really know how to toe the line, support the unit and understand the importance of coming together as a group so we don’t have stove-piped sections,” he said. 

One method of bringing more to the base was revamping the communication focal point. Now, there is a member from each back shop at the CFP, so when someone calls for assistance there will be someone knowledgeable on any issue. Throughout the year, the squadron has excelled in many domains, from protecting the base from cyber-attacks to bringing quality customer support which earned them the top spot in the Department of Defense.