72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion engages NATO signal partners at Exercise Combined Endeavor 11
September 21, 2011
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- 72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion shared wires and wisdom with NATO partners at Combined Endeavor 11, the largest multinational communications exercise in the world from September 9-22, in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
The goal of the exercise is to improve U.S., European and NATO military communications and computer network inter-connectivity, and to help nations partner together in responding to regional crisis or disaster.
Sgt. Ryan Lalk, assigned to the Schweinfurt based 72nd ESB and communications NCOIC of USA Battalion at Combined Endeavor, said their mission during the Cyber Endeavor portion of Combined Endeavor is to connect with Lithuania and Ukraine. During the exercise, 72nd is trying to get a blueprint of configurations so in the future they know how to connect to foreign equipment. Cyber Endeavor has provided 72nd the opportunity to learn new things as individuals and as a unit.
"Overall we've been able to learn from the other nations network configurations with different routing protocols," said Capt. Wilbert Thibodeaux, HHC Company Commander, and lead officer-in-charge for Mission 1 at Combined Endeavor.
"I've learned a lot because normally we use different configurations and kind of do the same thing over and over again. This mission we started from scratch and we had to build up the settings we have in our communications equipment," said Lalk.
"We got to think on our feet, and we learned about different modes of communicating to different pieces of equipment," said Lalk.
"We learned that the US isn't just the standard and that there are different standards that we can possibly end up having to use in a deployment. It's just an eye opening experience as far as communications throughout the NATO countries," said Thibodeaux.
Working in a multinational environment brings new opportunities to the table in different ways.
"Its been pretty interesting, I've learned some things from the other nations, especially in terms of routing and our call manager. The other nations actually showed us a couple of new things on how to connect to their routers," said Lalk.
"I like the fact that I learned how the multiple nations are able to integrate into our systems with regards to their forms of brute force tracking, command post of the future, server configurations, and the technology they bring to the table," said Thibodeaux.
"The best is talking with other nations on a professional standpoint and working with them for a common goal," said Lalk.