By Betsy Kozak-Howard, ACC-Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.December 19, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Armed with computers and a suitcase-sized mobile communications network, Soldiers from the 926th Contingency Contracting Battalion deployed the Broadband Global Area Network equipment here during a Dec. 3-5 communications exercise focused on establishing connectivity for communicating in a contingency environment.
"This exercise provided realistic training but more importantly it gave team-level instruction for establishing and conducting voice and Internet communications in a field environment," said Lt. Col. Derek Draper, 926th CCBn commander. "When our contingency contracting teams are deployed, they need to understand how to establish and maintain effective communications capabilities to support the mission. In addition, this BGAN training also benefits continuity of operations during national emergencies such as hurricanes or floods."
The BGAN is a mobile, satellite-based system which is easily transportable for the five-member teams within a field environment, according to Gloria Dent, unit operations officer and BGAN instructor.
"We developed a training plan that would transition the 926th's CCTs into contracting ready teams," said Dent, a retired command sergeant major. "The plan is our 'road-to-war' which maps out our path to have all the teams fully capable of conducting the battalion's contract ready team mission in December 2014 and be able to execute support to the (Defense Support of Civil Authorities plan) in the event of a humanitarian or disaster relief situation."
Staff Sgt. Rogelio Ordway, contract specialist, participated in the CommEx and was trained to perform preventative maintenance checks, set up and troubleshoot the BGAN, and establish interface for data connection.
"This system is your Wi-Fi during contingency operations," explained the 10-year Army veteran. "My role during the exercise was hardware set up and the team established connectivity exactly as we were trained."
The training also serves to prepare the 926th Soldiers for the Operational Contracting Support Joint Exercise, scheduled for Jan. 7-Feb. 1. OCSJX-14 is a contingency contracting exercise to prepare military contracting professionals--Soldiers and civilians--for contingency operations in a joint environment.