MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
An airman recently returned from a three-month tour at Dover Air Force Base with another stripe and an achievement medal for his efforts.
Tech Sgt. Jacob Bixler, 167th Airlift Wing cyber transport craftsman, assisted the 436th Communications Squadron with upgrades to the Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNET) there and provided training and mentorship to six of the younger airmen in the infrastructure shop.
Bixler, who is a full-time radio frequency transmissions technician for the communications flight, submitted his resume in response to an email he received which was soliciting volunteers for a circuit management project at Dover Air Force Base.
He was selected and approved for the duty and began just after Thanksgiving.
Bixler explained that recent turnover in the Dover shop left new, less experienced airmen taking on some significant projects.
One of those projects was the NIPRNET upgrade and Bixler’s experience with NIPRNET upgrades at the 167th AW last fall proved to be very useful.
Their 10-man team was able to replace network switches in as many as five buildings each day. More than 140 buildings at the base needed upgrades to meet Air Force security requirements.
Bixler also created a master internet protocol listing for the base and mapped 550 sub-networks.
“Down the road they will be able to manage their IP addressing much more easily and efficiently,” Bixler said.
He streamlined their work order management process and was able to close out more than 100 existing work orders in just a three week period.
Making the transition from working with the Guard to the Active Duty was a seamless process according to Bixler.
“Having common AFI’s [Air Force Instructions] and standardization is what helped,” Bixler said. “Their leadership empowered me to go out and do what needed to be done.”
Bixler shared his expertise with the airmen in the 436th CS, and said he learned from the experience as well.
“I learned how to teach the airmen and how to coach them through things, I had to sit on my hands, so to speak, so they could learn,” he said. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to mentor their airmen.”
Bixler was promoted to technical sergeant in January. He was contacted by Maj. Brad Runkles, 167th Communications Flight commander, when the promotion order came through. Though he was planning to wait and have a promotion ceremony when he returned from his TDY, the 436th CS had a pinning ceremony for him.
Lt. Col. Stacie Rembold, 436th Communications Squadron commander, presented Bixler with the Air Force Achievement Medal the day before he finished his tour at Dover Air Force Base.
“I was just there doing my job, something I enjoy,” he said.