News>Feature - Tinker Airman, North Tonawanda native, finishes deployment flying combat missions as airborne radar technician on E-3 Sentry
Story at a Glance
Airman 1st Class David J. Moir deployed to a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia with the 965th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron. In May 2010, he redeployed to the 965th AACS at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. His hometown is North Tonawanda, N.Y.
A flight crew member carries items into an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft that is shrouded by fog on the flightline of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing prior to a mission at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia on Feb. 16, 2010. The E-3, which is assigned to the 965th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron, is deployed from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The 380th AEW supports operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol/Released)
Aircrew Airmen guide an E-3 Sentry into the air for a deployed air mission during operations at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia on Feb. 16, 2010. The crew is from the 965th Expeditionary Aircraft Airborne Air Control Squadron -- part of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. Their home station is Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol/Released)
by Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
5/27/2010 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- The distinctive rotodome of the E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft is mounted 11 feet above the plane's fuselage. When the E-3 is airborne, Airman 1st Class David J. Moir said you can feel the plane move when the massive radar system "comes to life."
At 30 feet in diameter and six feet thick, the rotodome connects to a radar subsystem that permits surveillance in the E-3 from the Earth's surface up into the stratosphere over land or water and can see out to a range of more than 250 miles.
"As a radar tech, my job is to provide, operate and maintain the radar and identification friend or foe (IFF) systems on the E-3 Sentry," said Airman Moir, an E-3 airborne radar technician who served with the 965th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia before redeploying in May 2010. He deployed from the 965th AACS at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
The E-3 is an airborne warning and control system aircraft which serves as a flying command and control battle platform. Airman Moir said that in addition to managing the radar system, he held other duties on combat missions. "I also risked my life being a trained airborne firefighter in order to protect the rest of my crew members in the event of an emergency," he said.
As a radar technician, Airman Moir said he works directly with the air surveillance technicians, the senior surveillance technician and the air surveillance officer not only to "wake up" the radar during each mission but also to prep the plane. He said what he does is critical to the AWACS mission.
"My career field's capabilities are vital to the success of our missions," Airman Moir said. "Without my capabilities, locating and tracking enemy aircraft would be impossible. Providing mid-air collision avoidance would be not as affective and overall the AWACS is a radar platform so I am just as important as the pilots who fly the plane. I am also critical for helping friendly aircraft drop 'bombs on target.'"
All deployed E-3 crew members such as Airman Moir are part of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing and support operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. In flying their AWACS combat missions in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, Airman Moir said on each mission he works with the air surveillance section to create an "air picture" of the battlefield.
The Air Force fact sheet on the E-3 Sentry shows the plane's radar -- combined with the IFF subsystem -- can look down to detect, identify and track enemy and friendly low-flying aircraft by eliminating ground clutter returns that confuse other radar systems. The radar and computer subsystems can gather and present broad and detailed battlefield information. This includes position and tracking information on enemy aircraft and ships, and location and status of friendly aircraft and naval vessels. The information can be sent to major command and control centers in rear areas or aboard ships.
It's doing this work that reminds Airman Moir why he was proud to join the military more than two and a half years ago.
"Serving my nation gives me a sense of honor and pride which can be found nowhere else but the military," said Airman Moir, whose hometown is North Tonawanda, N.Y. "I enjoy being a part of something greater than myself and knowing that we are doing good in the world -- making it a safer place for everyone."
Even though he has returned back to Tinker AFB, Airman Moir said he was most impressed by the team effort it takes to make the deployed mission successful.
"Everyone - the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy -- works together as a team to complete the task at hand, and only together do we get it done successfully," Airman Moir said. "Being able to count on the person next to you is why my experiences in the Air Force have been so great."
Recently, the 965th EAACS transferred its deployed to the 963rd EAACS, also deployed from Tinker AFB. Both are a part of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. The wing is home to the KC-10 Extender, U-2 Dragon Lady, E-3 Sentry and RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft.
The wing is comprised of four groups and 12 squadrons and the wing's deployed mission includes air refueling, air battle management, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of overseas contingency operations in Southwest Asia. The 380th AEW supports operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.