Electrifying operations, Army style
September 6, 2013
NEW MEXICO RANGE, South Korea -- It may have been possible to fight the ancient wars without electricity, but times have changed. The ability to generate electricity enables military organizations to conduct operations anywhere in the world.
The 20th Support Command, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., provides generator maintenance support for the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian training exercise in the Republic of Korea. During the two-week field exercise, these generators are the energy life source for much of the military operations, ensuring organizations are able to man their posts 24 hours a day.
"Our mission is to provide communications and coordination with Eighth Army and other units, as well as Republic of Korea," said Staff Sgt. Jason Orwick, a noncommissioned officer in charge, 20th Support Command.
Today, providing electricity is an essential factor in providing communications in contingency operations.
"We are here to make sure all the generators are good-to-go so we can provide power for the different servers and satellite communications equipment," said Orwick, a native to Findley, Ohio.
Without proper maintenance, the generators can malfunction just like any other piece of equipment can. It takes a team of six soldiers to maintain 20 generators throughout the base camp, with each one working quickly to fix any issues as soon as they arise.
"My job is to conduct maintenance on all the generators that will be used for the UFG 2013 training exercise," said Spc. Kareem Williams, generator mechanic, 20th Support Command, from Philadelphia.
In addition to computer servers and satellite communications, the generators also provide air conditioning, another luxury Soldiers did not have during bygone conflicts.
"It's not just for air conditioning," said Orwick, adding, "although when you're in Korea, it's a big deal having it."
Although air cooling units require a lot of power, the high heat of summer on the peninsula, along with the humid environment, makes the units a necessity. They are essential in keeping some of the communications systems online in order to have a successful exercise.
And the only way to get the power they need is from the generator sets.
As the exercise heats up, the well-maintained generators and the hard work of the 20th Support Command guarantee that UFG 2013 will power on.