Army communicators play critical role in supporting civil affairs operations in Haiti
March 1, 2010
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Soldiers assigned to the communications directorate for the Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command, or JFSOCC, have played a critical role in supporting Civil Affairs and other humanitarian operations conducted in Haiti during Operation Unified Response.
Special Operation Forces served as the commander's eyes on the ground during the early days of the rescue and recovery phases of relief operations in Haiti. These tasks rely heavily on vital links between forward elements and operational commanders, a support capability that Army communication professionals from the Signal Corps bring to an operation.
"There's a lot of coordination and streamlining that goes into our job because we have to work across a variety of networks and satellite feeds," said Staff Sgt. Kelly Williams, a communications team leader. "We have to ensure the end user, our people in the field, have the signal capabilities they need to accomplish their assigned tasks."
To remain mission capable, Williams said computer networks must continue to run efficiently, and tactical, radio, and satellite communications equipment must be managed and maintained.
"There's a lot of security protocols and other procedures we must follow to run efficient networks," said Williams. "But we try to make that as transparent as possible for our users."
But as Staff Sgt. Wayne Potts explains, there's also a hands-on portion of their mission.
"The Civil Affairs teams bring communications equipment with them to the field, but we show them how to get the most out of this equipment," said Potts. "We want to make sure they have the right capabilities when they get to where they are going, so they can concentrate on the overall mission we have here in Haiti."
That mission, humanitarian operations, is one these Soldiers know they have enhanced with the skill sets they bring to the operation.
"We feel good knowing we played a part in the overall success of our mission," said Sgt. Derek Auguste. "Communications are vital to any operation - everyone has to talk and coordinate with each other. We feel like we created an environment where that could be successful."