Soldier rewrites standard in satellite reliability
December 28, 2009
CAMP AS SAYLIYAH, Qatar -- Sgt. Jeffrey Yauch, from Plover, Wis., adheres to the old Army conviction: leave it better than you found it. During a one-year deployment, the 1st Cavalry Division soldier wrote detailed technical standard operation procedures for tactical satellite hubs employing the military's latest communications technology.
Yauch's painstaking labors led to an unprecedented 99-percent satellite reliability rate, according to signal reports at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar. Tactical environment uptimes typically range between 90 and 95 percent, according to Chief Warrant Officer Scott Gray, 1st Cavalry Division Special Troops Battalion network technician chief.
"Our team set a new standard for maintaining a tactical satellite hub," said Gray, who then commended the entire unit for supporting communication requirements for over 230,000 combat patrols in Iraq this year.
The 1st Cavalry Division, a rapidly deployable armored division based at Fort Hood, Texas, assumed duties as the Multi-National Division - Baghdad headquarters in January. While the main body moved into Iraq, Yauch and 18 other Soldiers formed a tactical satellite hub at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, located on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.
The team of Soldiers inherited a critical mission: set up and maintain a robust satellite hub at the Qatar base. Warfighters throughout Iraq would depend on their signal integrity for a variety of audiovisual services, such as telecommunications, video teleconferences and network access. Unfortunately, specific instructions about fielding the Army's most recent equipment didn't exist. Yauch resolved to fix that discrepancy, as the Soldiers went to work.
"I basically took a quick-reference manual and turned it into a 40-page TSOP," said Yauch. He documented satellite positions, database creation, network maintenance procedures - all the best configurations for signal strength and fidelity in a deployed location. He crammed hours of troubleshooting into a clean how-to format.
"The hardest part was dummying it all down," said Yauch. "It needed to be simple ... so anyone with a basic knowledge of satellite communications could comprehend it." Aside from understanding suitable implementation methods, reliable uptimes require operators who care for their equipment, he said.
The tactical satellite document has been disseminated throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It's a step-by-step guide on everything from setting up to maintaining," said Sgt. Andrew Haase, 1st Armored Division satellite communications operator. The 1st Armored Division will relieve the 1st Cavalry Division at MND-B next month. "We've been using it to set up here," referring to an ongoing relief-in-place transition in Qatar.
"Sergeant Yauch did an amazing job writing the TSOP and answering technical questions downrange," said Gray. "We've gotten a lot of great kudos from commanders in Iraq."
The 1st Cavalry Division redeploys in January, leaving behind a signal support legacy in Southwest Asia.