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Photo Information

U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Joseph Fredrick Jr, left, a cyber defense operations airman, and a native of California, and Senior Master Sgt. William Blankenship, a communications site chief, and a native of Mississippi, both with 374th Communications Squadron Operating Location Bravo, 374th Communications Squadron, 374th Mission Support Group, pose for a photo at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, April 19, 2024. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. David Getz)

Photo by Lance Cpl. David Getz

Best of the Best; 374th Communications Squadron Location Bravo wins Facility of the Year award

14 May 2024 | Lance Cpl. David Getz Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

The 374th Communications Squadron Location Bravo at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni (MCAS), Japan was recently awarded the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), Defense Information Systems Network (DISN), Category II Medium Transmission Facility of the Year (FOTY), beating out other Category II facilities in the region such as Kadena Air Base, the largest U.S. air base in the Indo-Pacific for the title.

The award identifies and formally recognizes outstanding DISN facilities
for exemplary accomplishments, performance, and contributions made to enhance the effectiveness with which the Department of Defense Information Network (DODIN) is operated, secured, and managed.

The 374th Communications Squadron Location Bravo is operated by Senior Master Sgt. William E. Blankenship, Tech. Sgt. Joseph M. Frederick Jr. and Tech. Sgt. Harrison D. Jones. The purpose of the MCAS Iwakuni facility is to ensure information superiority for U.S. Forces Japan, the 5th Air Force, the 374th Airlift Wing, and deployed forces throughout the Western Pacific.

Although they belong to a larger unit based out of Yokota Air Base, Location Bravo operates independently, and the airmen stationed here are responsible for the data and communications of all units on the air station. “There are 32 different sites that we provide links to around the world.” said Frederick Jr.

Though their section is small, it is vital to providing essential communication support to units across the installation and those who are just passing through Iwakuni.

Receiving the facility of the year award shows that despite being such a small section detached from the rest of the squadron, these Airmen are performing at the highest caliber.

Blankenship says that every member on his team is credited for the win and that they put in long hours which greatly contributed to their success.

“The list of individuals that helped us win these awards actually spans multiple bases and commands, so it’s hard to itemize every little action,” said Blankenship. “Working hard, putting value into each and every task we perform, and knowing when to stop for the day or the weekend is what contributed to the facility’s success.”

The facility has also gone above and beyond its normal everyday duties by participating in several exercises, such as Iron Riptide ‘23 and Resolute Dragon ‘23, where they provided communications support and extended network access.

The 374th Communications Squadron was previously awarded the 2006 Category II Medium Transmission Facility and 2009 Category I Small Transmission Facility. “Last year [for 2022], we were the DISA Pacific’s runner-up,” said Blankenship. Through their steady improvement and reliable proficiency, Location Bravo was able to achieve the top spot for 2023.

“There were multiple times in 2023 where we pivoted from our own priorities to take on higher level priorities that popped up at MCAS Iwakuni,” said Blankenship. “Knowing that we can help deliver the winning edge or unique capability in addition to our specific mission area is amazing.”

Blankenship and his team continue improving and providing the exceptional services that contributed to their award, ensuring that MCAS Iwakuni and its tenant units continue to run as they support the U.S. Japan Alliance and a free and open Indo-Pacific.

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