324th ESB toubleshoot data links during COMEX
March 19, 2010
FORT GORDON, Ga. (March 8, 2010) - Signal Soldiers occupied their weekend, March 5 to 7, conducting transmissions and communication trouble shooting exercises near the U.S. Army Reserve Center at Fort Gordon, Ga.
The 324th Signal Battalion (Expeditionary) held their quarterly communications exercise combining its three signal companies together at one location for subject matter experts to synchronize network system issues and share problem solving techniques.
"This is a key piece of training for the battalion every year during the quarterly COMEX where we exercise our communications capabilities," said Lt. Col. Michael S. Stocks, 324th ESB commander. "It's the only time these Reservists get their hands on the equipment once a quarter - more than their weapons."
Each company operates their Phoenix satellite terminal and Base Band Nodes in preparation for upcoming training exercises, Grecian Firebolt, Diamond Saber and possible future deployments. The three companies were co-located to let operators from different companies to cross train and make it convenient to walk next door.
All each company is doing is sending a data package up from one Phoenix satellite terminal to a satellite in orbit and down to another terminal, creating a mini network looped together. The satellite in space doesn't know the other dish is located right next to the other one which is an advantage to have, said Stocks. It could be on the other side of the world and the satellite wouldn't know.
"It's nice to be feet away to work out any trouble shooting before going miles apart," said Spc. Gino Gonzalez, a satellite system maintainer and operator with 324th ESB, C Co., Atlanta.
Two of the three signal companies within the battalion are located elsewhere in Greenville, S.C., and Atlanta.
"What we're doing is bringing all the equipment together, to exercise and work out the bugs before we go out to three separate locations," said Stocks.
To Staff Sgt. Stan Buckalew, satellite operations noncommissioned officer, 324th ESB, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, the current training is like day and night. Working in the signal field for 13 years, a single expeditionary signal company can do what a battalion used to do in the past and their capabilities have continually improved to digital over the years to include more civilian systems integrated with military systems.
The BBN provides service to military subscribers with every type of communications as there would be in the civilian side. A subscriber within a unit, division, or corps level will have phone, video conferencing, and Internet e-mail ability to send data packages back and forth.
"From a combat stand point it's critical," said Buckalew. "[commanders and down to the infantrymen,] they're relying on real world Intel, video surveillance, and smart weapons, all which must have a steady stream of communications."
When Soldiers are deployed into a battlefield, there are no civilian Internet hookup capabilities. Everything found on the civilian side, the military is keeping up equivalently and more. What Soldiers need communications wise in the battlefield is going to be linked through our satellite systems, said Stocks.
This year, Army Reserve signal units will have their BBN systems exchanged to match their active component counterparts using Joint Network Nodes. A,A!A,A!