First, Last Always--53rd Signal Battalion
August 8, 2011
Landstuhl, Germany - Located in a nondescript cement building, the only indication the 53rd Signal Battalion is in operation is the tell-tale orange color of the sign, signaling it is a signal battalion. Company C, 53rd Signal Battalion is responsible for the Wideband Satellite Operations Center located in Landstuhl, Germany.
"Our mission is to provide payload assurance for the (Department of Defense) wideband satellite constellations. We basically monitor the health and welfare of the data streams coming off of satellites providing communications for major commands around the globe," said Capt. Theodore E. Perry, III, former 53rd Signal Bn. Co. C commander.
The WSOC is responsible for executing and monitoring the usage plans put forth by the Regional SATCOM support center, Europe. About 60 Soldiers are assigned to the company and are mostly satellite operator/maintainers. The operations floor is home to a sea of monitors, containing information the Soldiers have been specifically trained to decipher.
"Our mission is to ensure the health and welfare of the satellite is maintained properly, so the Soldiers on the ground can have proper support," said Sgt. Lowell Sitez, a satellite operator/maintainer with the company.
The mission in Landstuhl is unique, offering the Soldiers there a view few others can access.
"With the satellite that we see into, we can take a look at upwards of two-thirds of the globe at any given time. This is a capability that most sites, if any others, do not have."
The WSOC operates in a partnership of sorts with the Regional SATCOM Support Center Europe, executing and monitoring the payload access plan set forth by the RSSC. The mission executed at their location is in support of more than 30 countries, making it one of the most diverse location in terms of the customers it serves.
Co. C is one of six companies worldwide that make up the 53rd Signal Battalion which is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. Each have the same mission responsibilities, though the location in Hawaii is the first with access to the Wideband Global Satellite resources.