By 1st Lt. Rima Tonkunas, 311th Signal Command (Theater) Support UnitDecember 17, 2013
COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Soldiers of the 311th Signal Command (Theater) Support Unit hosted their 311th SC(T) leadership team, Maj. Gen. James T. Walton and Command Sgt. Maj. Travis L. Cherry, who visited during the unit's monthly Battle Training Assembly at the Reserve Center here, Dec. 7-8.
A highlight of the visit was the Army Reserve Soldiers' brief to the team on their readiness for mobilization as part of the Detachment 34, 335th Signal Command's mission in Kuwait and Afghanistan early next year.
Brig. Gen. Garrett S. Yee, 335th SC(T) Deputy Commander for Mobilization, also attended the BTA, to meet with the Soldiers who were selected to support the mission. Headquartered in East
Point, Georgia, the 335th SC(T) maintains the enduring mission of a forward-deployed Operational Command Post in Kuwait, drawing on its operational Army Reserve force of more than 8,000 Active and Reserve Signal and Chemical Soldiers assigned to detachments in nearly two dozen states, including Det. 34 in California.
Hailing from the 311th SC(T) headquarters at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, Brig. Gen. Walton and Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Cherry also held a town hall meeting to share the way ahead for Signaleers in the Pacific, and enjoyed a holiday meal with the Soldiers and their Families.
During the town hall meeting, Walton and Cherry discussed the Signal mission and what Reserve Soldiers can expect in the near future as the Army continues to downsize.
"Rather (than a reduction in force), we can expect a higher demand for strategic signal and technical skills that defend our networks from our cyber adversaries and improve secure communications across the Pacific," Walton said.
While remaining optimistic that the Signal mission will not see a reduction in force, particularly not in the Pacific area of operations, Walton said he does anticipate a shrinking budget that may impact the command's support to readiness exercises throughout the Pacific, in that Soldiers in Costa Mesa may not have as many opportunities to participate overseas due to less funding.
"You may find new training opportunities by conducting cooperative training events and exercises with other elements, such as the 335th Signal Command," said Walton. He said staying state-side and reducing travel costs will be necessary, to comply with the funding constraints now facing the Active and Reserve Components across all branches of the military.
"Even though Signal Soldiers remain in demand, your competition will get tougher," Cherry said. "Now more than ever, you will find added value in pursuing and completing your primary education and doing what is necessary to gain an advantage through acquiring multiple military occupational specialties and professional certifications. You must be 50 percent better than the Soldier to your left and to your right - physically, technically and professionally."
Walton and Cherry commended the Soldiers of the Support Unit for their vital support to the 311th SC(T)'s extensive Signal mission throughout the Pacific theater, and to the Soldiers readying for deployment early next year with the 335th SC(T).
"Part of your team may be in Hawaii, but we are with you," Walton said, assuring the Reserve Soldiers of the command's Support Unit that they would not be left behind in the wake of budget challenges.
"We are here to support you," Cherry said, "and to make sure you receive every opportunity to advance your training, your careers."