By Staff Sgt. Jacqueline D. Morris (C Company, 53rd Signal Battalion)April 12, 2013
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Charlie Company, 53rd Signal Battalion (SATCON), conducted their "Centurion Challenge" field exercise March 13-15.
The exercise enabled senior noncommissioned officers to demonstrate the ability of their junior NCO's to execute fundamental Soldier tasks such as providing force protection of the satellite communications facility, battle drills, and overall junior leader initiative.
Classroom instruction was also given on: test, measurement and diagnostic equipment, or TMDE; chemical biological, radiological and nuclear, or CBRN; Army Substance Abuse Program; sexual harassment/assault response and prevention program; safety; and maintenance essentials. Sgt. Vincent Samson, senior satellite communication controller and safety NCO, briefed members of the company on summer safety guidelines. Staff Sgt. William Hannon, maintenance and CBRN NCO, taught Soldiers proper TMDE utilization and practices. He also presented a thorough block of instruction on CBRN detection equipment.
Squad and team leaders organized most of the training events and ensured their Soldiers were given the knowledge to accurately and proficiently execute tasks and exceed expectations.
Spc. Sean Palo and Spc. Ezekiel Willis, SATCOM controllers and recent graduates from the Warrior Leader Course in Grafenwoehr, Germany, displayed remarkable skill during the execution of the battle drill exercise conducted. Sgt. 1st Class Clayton Vanlangendonck, platoon sergeant, and Sgt. Toby Hensley, squad leader and senior SATCOM controller, organized and ran battle drill tasks involving moving under direct and indirect fire, performing voice communications, using visual signaling techniques, moving as a member of a team, and selecting a hasty fighting position.
Palo and Willis were able to implement everything they learned at the WLC while providing assistance to their battle buddies. Capt. Jeffrey Keenan, Charlie Company commander, awarded both with a four-day pass for their outstanding performance.
The "Charlie Centurions" also took part in a night fire range on March 14. This consisted of Soldiers engaging targets and expending all rounds in their first magazine, quickly donning their protective masks, reassuming a prone unsupported fighting position, and continuing to fire in a simulated CBRN environment.
The three-day challenge ended with an awards and promotion ceremony. Recipients who received honors were: Staff Sgt. Joshua Rodriguez, SATCOM control supervisor, Senior Space Badge; Spc. Ethan Frye and Spc. Nathaniel Stager, SATCOM controllers, Army Good Conduct Medal; and Pfc. Gilbert Sanchez-Ramirez, SATCOM controller, promoted to specialist.
"The exercise proved to be a great opportunity for the company to focus on small unit leadership, enabling leaders to validate the military decision-making process and eight-step training process, and for Soldiers to enhance their skills and proficiency at battle-focused tasks outside their normal scope of operations," Keenan said. "The unit's cohesion and esprit de corps remained at a high level throughout the exercise."