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Guardian of SATCOM

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman John Jaquez, 4th Expeditionary Space Control Flight-Alpha satellite communications, poses for a photo at Nigerien Air Base 201, Agadez, Niger, Feb. 1, 2021. Jaquez was selected to backfill and perform depot-level maintenance tasks to keep the units mission going during COVID-19 operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gabrielle Winn)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman John Jaquez, 4th Expeditionary Space Control Flight-Alpha satellite communications, poses for a photo at Nigerien Air Base 201, Agadez, Niger, Feb. 1, 2021. Jaquez was selected to backfill and perform depot-level maintenance tasks to keep the units mission going during COVID-19 operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Gabrielle Winn)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germay --

In the past year, many units had to adapt and overcome due to the restrictions brought about by COVID-19. One Airman assigned to the 4th Expeditionary Space Control Flight-Alpha at Nigerien Air Base 201, Agadez, Niger, went above and beyond to help his unit succeed due to travel restrictions.

Senior Airman John Jaquez, 4 ESPCF-A satellite communications, is keeping the mission afloat by working outside of his normal duties to perform depot-level maintenance tasks and backfill the gap COVID-19 has caused for depot engineers to travel into theater.

Depot-level maintenance is any major repair, overhaul or complete rebuilding of equipment whether that is the hardware or software. Most equipment goes through depot-level maintenance whether it is routine maintenance or required for mission success. Depot-level maintenance is normally performed by teams who specialize on the specific piece of equipment.

As a radio frequency technician, Jaquez maintains antennas by performing preventive maintenance inspections, giving him an edge up on depot-level maintenance tasks.

“Senior Airman Jaquez is the only member on our deployed team who received specialized training to perform the depot-level maintenance tasks for our system,” said Tech. Sgt. Roy McCune, 4 ESPCF-A senior enlisted leader. “Because COVID-19 has restricted movement and made travel into theater more difficult, Senior Airman Jaquez has been able to step into that role and provide the skills necessary to accomplish these tasks.”

With depot maintenance not being part of his normal duties, Jaquez is honored by being given the opportunity to do more.

“I think this is a great opportunity my leadership has given me,” Jaquez said. “I’m able to step out of my normal routine and see other parts of the world and expand my Air Force family.”

Jaquez has also used a skill set that every member of the Air Force has used over this past year to ensure mission success.

“Adapt and overcome,” Jaquez said. “Sometimes you have to be flexible in order for the mission to continue.”

For some, an accomplishment might be completing a depot task, but for Jaquez, his accomplishment is his team.

“I’d say my biggest accomplishment is being able to work with and be part of the team,” Jaquez said. “They make it easy for me to do my job because it’s more like a family away from home. I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

Airmen deployed to the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing provide combat airpower and base operating support for operations across Africa. They enable the employment of expeditionary airpower to ensure access across Africa and accomplish national and U.S. Africa Command objectives.

“Senior Airman Jaquez’s work is critical to keeping our 24/7/365 mission running by preventing maintenance downtime and identifying and fixing both minor and major SATCOM issues so that the support 4 ESPCF provides continues uninterrupted,” McCune said.

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