Partners in communications
Soldiers from the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion and United Kingdom's 250 Gurkha Signal Squadron, 30th Signal Regiment, pose for photo in Grafenwoehr following Stoney Run II, a signal interoperability exercise, held May 26-June 10.

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Soldiers from Bravo Company, 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, welcomed their United Kingdom counterparts from the 250 Gurkha Signal Squadron, 30th Signal Regiment, as part of Exercise Stoney Run II in the Grafenwoehr Training Area from May 26-June 10. More than 30 Soldiers from both nations participated.

The exercise was designed to test interoperability between the U.S. and U.K. signal systems, and provide a better foundation for future coalition operations with the British army.

This exercise also gave Soldiers the opportunity to learn about other military organizations' communications systems and how they are implemented.

As the only expeditionary signal battalion in Europe, the 44th ESB is now in a unique position to conduct communication interoperability exercises with the NATO partners.

This will improve both countries' technical capabilities when deploying together on the battlefield, as well as foster a closer relationship between each unit and the Signal Corps of each country's army.

Overall, the Soldiers who participated in Stoney Run II said it was an invaluable and enjoyable experience. Not only were the teams able to make progress on interoperability from last year's exercise, they learned about the other unit's best practices, general organizational structure and culture.

Soldiers from both nations developed genuine friendships after working long days, engaging in various sports like soccer, basketball and Frisbee, and partaking in traditional Nepalese curry meals together.

Sgt. Robert Ramirez, team chief of the Command Post Node, compared this exercise with others in which he has participated.

"This has definitely been the best exercise," he said. "I will be the first one to volunteer to be involved in the next one."

Capt. Rupkumar Gurung, officer in charge of the 250 Gurkha Signal Squadron 30th Signal Regiment, agreed.

"The plan for next year is to involve more teams in Stoney Run III," he said. "We should send a company instead of a platoon next time."

The exercise has the potential of growing into a multinational interoperability exercise that unites organizations that do not often have the opportunity to work together and build a more versatile force.

Page last updated Fri June 20th, 2014 at 00:00