By Staff Sgt. Heidi Goodsell, 31st Fighter Wing
/ Published July 10, 2020
Senior Airman Mary Graham (left), Airman 1st Class Jordan Grant (middle), and Senior Airman Tiarra Chavis (right), resolve troubleshooting tickets at Aviano Air Base, Italy, July 9, 2020. The Airmen are 31st Communications Squadron client systems technicians who overcame unique challenges to support the 31st Fighter Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heidi Goodsell)
Airman 1st Class Sinéad Mcgorman, 31st Communications Squadron client systems technician, talks to a client to resolve a troubleshooting ticket at Aviano Air Base, Italy, July 9, 2020. The 31st CS provides support to over 9,000 individuals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heidi Goodsell)
A 31st Communications Squadron logo is displayed at Aviano Air Base, Italy, July 9, 2020. The squadron adapted quickly to unique challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heidi Goodsell)
James Johnson and Airman 1st Class Savannah Coon, 31st Communications Squadron client systems technicians, reimage computers at Aviano Air Base, Italy, July 9, 2020. Reimaging computers was an important factor during the COVID-19 crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heidi Goodsell)
A 31st Communications Squadron patch is displayed at Aviano Air Base, Italy, July 9, 2020. The squadron adapted quickly to unique challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heidi Goodsell)
The 31st Communications Squadron kept the 31st Fighter Wing virtually connected during COVID-19 operations.
During the early stages of COVID-19, every week new decrees came down and changed the base’s sense of normal operations. The 31st CS operations flight stepped in and kept the mission going.
“The 31st Communications Squadron operations flight had to adapt and overcome unique challenges quickly to continue supporting the 31st FW,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Megan Cann, 31st CS operations flight commander.
There were three main challenges the flight had to confront; laptop imaging, new Virtual Private Network (VPN) installing and updating, and the Commercial Virtual Remote (CVR) Teams rollout.
Many individuals who had never teleworked before suddenly found themselves in need of equipment in order to be able to work from home. The flight had made early coordination efforts across the Major Command to request enough laptops. They then had to reimage and update the laptops with the new VPN and other software.
The laptops not only needed the software, but Aviano Air Base servers were configured and certain data transport paths were established. Bringing the footprint from only about one hundred VPN users to thousands of users, the network operations and network infrastructure sections were essential in establishing these changes.
“As COVID-19 was advancing on Italy earliest through this pandemic, Aviano AB led the efforts in U.S. Air Forces in Europe and the AF in adapting and enabling to these telework postures,” said Cann.
Simultaneously, Microsoft offered the new CVR Teams as a 6-month temporary subscription to the entire Department of Defense. The flight had to conduct coordination, testing, training for local users, and troubleshoot all the new capabilities in order to make the transition successful for everyone working at Aviano.
The operations flight efforts displayed professional expertise to ensure the mission remained safe, secure and effective during a global pandemic.