By Sgt. Brian J Smith Dutton (FORSCOM)February 6, 2014
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - Soldiers throughout the 3rd Brigade Combat Team "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) took part in a Brigade wide new equipment fielding exercise here which started Jan. 6 and ended Jan. 29.
"We are out here fielding this equipment to not only work out the kinks but to also get better hands on training for everyone," said 1st Lt. Eric Williams, the Capability Set 2013 Planner assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. "This took the entire Brigade's effort to train up to this event as well as field the equipment."
The Capability Set 2013 program is a communication system that not only allows Soldiers to use hand held devices to update locations and view maps, but to also combine that with an advanced radio network so that commanders can visually see where each Soldier is as well as communicate with that Soldier throughout the battlefield.
�"What makes this program different from past programs is the mobility and scale of the equipment," said Sgt. Cody Payovich, an Information Technology Specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. �"Before this new equipment, the only mobile communications we had were radios, but now with the new CS-13 integrated vehicles we have mobile data use, which means the vehicle is basically a laptop on wheels so to speak."
Soldiers and leaders from the Rakkasans trained on CS 13 more than six month ago and it has been a major focus for units to integrate into their exercises.
"We have worked with the CS-13 program for the last six months to become experts with this equipment," said Williams."I think the program is a very interesting take on communications that will give the Brigade more capabilities and better enable mission command."
More than 500 Soldiers throughout the Brigade took part in the fielding exercise, in order to become more proficient with the new equipment, working hands on to set up a mobile headquarters as well as practicing movement using the CS-13.
"This is new equipment that Soldiers may have never seen before," said Williams. "I'm very impressed with how Soldiers adapted to and completed this field training while still keeping up with all their other duties."
The fielding exercise consisted of preparing and using the equipment as if in a deployed
"This new equipment does a lot to show how far technology has come and what it can do to help with the fight," said Williams. "I think in time this will have a great impact with the Rakkasan mission and help to extend the Brigade�'s reach out further than in the past."
Soldiers agree that although the new system took time to learn while during the exercise the benefits from using the CS-13 could better enhance their capabilities as a Brigade.
�"The concept of this system is great, mobile communications from the Brigade level all the way down to the Platoons on mission," said Payovich. �"While there are still bugs that need to be addressed while we are testing this system, I think in the long run this will be a system that we can rely on."
Although the training event may be over, the use of CS-13 within the Rakkasans is just beginning, Soldiers will see and learn more from this equipment in the months to come.