Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for March 28, 2011 - Pvt. Christina Piegols

Private Christina Piegols

Current Unit: 580th Signal Company, 25th Signal Battalion
Current Position: Cable Systems Installer-Maintainer
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Afghanistan
Hometown: Appleton, Wis.
Years of Service: 1

Communication is essential to all aspects of Army operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Soldiers on the ground need timely and reliable access to information, especially when it comes to troop, supply and aircraft movements. The Army’s communications network is constantly being updated and modernized to accommodate the swift exchange of information across the battlefield. Working behind the scenes to make this happen, Pvt. Christina Piegols and others on the communications maintenance team are responsible for installing, testing and repairing communication equipment and data lines to keep her fellow Soldiers connected.

Piegols currently serves as a cable systems installer-maintainer with the 580th Signal Company, 25th Signal Battalion in Afghanistan. Her main responsibilities include the installation and the maintenance of secure phone and data lines.

“NIPER, SIPER, and CENTREX lines are data lines, and DSN lines are main phone lines that don't rely on power. Each one represents a certain level of security,” the Soldier explained.

Piegols recognizes the critical nature of her job—the lines she installs are the primary ways Soldiers communicate with others on the base, back at home and around the world.

“I have learned that communication is key to accomplishing any mission,” she said. “I will do my best to make sure that anyone I work with knows all the details of the mission.”

During her time overseas, she has also had the opportunity to try her hand at a few other projects outside her field responsibilities. In particular, she’s had a chance to nurture a fascination with robotics that she’s held since high school.

“What stands out most from my deployment is the chance I had to work on the Robotic Systems Joint Project,” she said. “I learned how to operate two of their many robots and I gained a better understanding of how they are assembled and maintained. I’ve also been lucky enough to be invited back to gain advanced training on the operations of these robots.”

Although Piegols has served in the Army for less than a year, it was a decision she knew she’d make eventually, following in the footsteps of her father who served during Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

“I was raised that if I am not willing to do something, I had no right to expect someone else to do it. I feel strongly about this when it comes to the American men and women who make the sacrifice everyday to secure my rights and freedoms,” Piegols said.

Piegols is currently slated to return stateside in fall 2011, but first, the young Soldier has the opportunity to commemorate Women’s History Month in Afghanistan. In honor of the month, she plans to make a presentation on the impact of women in the Army to other Soldiers at Bagram Airbase.

“It makes me proud to see how far women have come and what we have done throughout history,” she said. “And I’m proud because I know that every day I am making a difference no matter how small of an effect it is.”

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