King Comm – Our mission is to connect

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Eddy Gutierrez
  • 86th Communications Squadron

I come from humble beginnings, in the poorest country in Central America, Nicaragua, and know the sacrifices of my mother and her demonstrated servant leadership have guided me throughout the years. As our country suffered from internal conflict and wars, she immigrated to the United States with my older siblings to find a better life.  Leaving her youngest kids behind (including me) until she was financially able to bring us across, was the toughest decision she ever made.  I honor my mother’s sacrifices by being the first to earn a college degree, commission as an officer, lead others in the greatest Air Force in the world and provide my kids with a better life and opportunities that I did not have at their age.

When I found out I was going to be the Commander of the 86th Communications Squadron, I was excited and nervous.  Excited because this was going to be my second command but nervous in returning to the squadron after being away for three years.  On top of that, the 86th CS is not your traditional squadron. More than 420 personnel are assigned here and operate across many mission sets including supporting global Satellite Communications, serving as global telephone operators, and pushing 80 percent of data throughout the European theater in direct support of 10 combatant commands.

The 86th CS, known as “King Comm,” is the largest Communications Squadron in the Air Force, but we do not do it alone.  We work jointly with six co-located cyber brethren, and this Cyber “team of teams” is responsible for incredibly distinct but interconnected missions.  The 691st Cyber Operations Squadron runs cyber enterprise, 1st Air & Space Cyber Operations Squadron runs the collateral network and global command and control system, 1st Combat Communications Squadron runs tactical communications, 693rd Intel Support Squadron runs the Distributed Common Ground System and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance network support, 603rd Air Communications Squadron runs the Air Operations Center weapon system, and 1st Communications Maintenance Squadron provides specialized communications installation and maintenance across and throughout United States Air Forces Europe and Africa. Regardless of the mission, the 86th CS serves as the backbone and ATLAS strength behind them to assure our mission partners’ successes.  

During our annual fall leadership offsite, our team redefined its mission to align with lessons learned from Operations ALLIED REFUGE, ALLIES WELCOME and COVID, as well as with the National Defense Strategy. Our updated mission is “to connect and provide information superiority across the Global Gateway to warfighters.” Connecting symbolizes not only our ability to link the 1s and 0s, but more so connecting humans at the right place and the right time.  Strategically, information superiority is our ability to assure our command-and-control decision cycle and deny or deter our adversary’s ability to impact our operational environment.

While Ramstein is the global gateway for all mobility and transport overseas, it is the 86th CS that manages the information gateway that ‘connects’ worldwide command and control priorities.  Speaking of connection, our German local nationals represent decades of heritage and history with some serving up to 40 years across various Ramstein units and others spanning multiple generations in the same family assigned to 86th CS. Their dedication and selfless service is a constant reminder that we are one team, one fight. At King Comm, our priority is people first -- because Airmen are our Family. 

To share my ATLAS story, in summer 2010, my twin brother, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Miguel Gutierrez, was deployed in Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM with his Marine infantry unit, where he suffered a gunshot wound to the left-side of his skull while on patrol and had to be med-evac.  Throughout his evacuation, safety of his unit, medical transport, red cross notification to our older brother, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Omar Gutierrez, to link up with me stateside, the communications were seamless.  Behind the scenes it was the 86th CS making these connections.  At King Comm, we understand that our scope of responsibility is critical every day and can mean the difference between life or death.  While I was not assigned to the 86th CS when my brother was wounded, I am now on the watch to ensure others can rest assure we’ll keep communications up.  We are here to connect you with the rest of the world so hold us accountable.

King Comm, Second to None.