By Spc. Gregory T. Summers, 1st Signal Brigade Public Affairs OfficeFebruary 27, 2014
USAG DAEGU, South Korea -- Soldiers from the 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion of the 1st Signal Brigade traveled from Camp Humphreys to Camp Walker last week to provide signal support for Eighth Army during the 2014 Key Resolve training exercise.
Soldiers of 1st Platoon, Charley Company, 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade brought their satellite dishes and communications equipment for the exercise to ensure that personnel at Camp Walker can stay connected to the fight and maintain a "Fight Tonight" posture.
Capt. Micheal A. Chezum, Charley Company Commander said 1st Platoon has been tasked to provide the warfighter networks to almost 700 Soldiers and civilians at Camp Walker for the exercise.
"This includes video teleconferences (VTCs) and Command Post of the Future (CPOF) updates," said Chezum.
VTCs allow for face-to-face video calls and discussions while CPOF updates, a C2 software system, give commanders a bird's eye view over the battlefield.
2nd Lt. Daniel A. Herb, 1st Platoon's Platoon Leader, said his Soldiers provide dependable voice communication services with some data bandwidth.
The platoon brought four tactical pieces of signal equipment that provide the safest and most reliable communication capabilities. Each piece works together to allow the 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion to provide its Eighth Army counterpart with solid and mission ready communications.
First, the Secure, Mobile, Anti-Jam, Reliable, Tactical - Terminal (SMART-T) provides its tactical users with safe and survivable satellite communications. The SMART-T makes it possible for Soldiers and their command to expand the range of their communications on the battlefield and it cannot be jammed, detected or intercepted by the enemy.
Spc. Keith A. Hansen, a Multichannel Transmission Systems Operator and Maintainer, 1st Platoon, explained, "This dish provides the ability for the brigade commander at Yongsan to stay in the loop. He can communicate with us here almost instantly."
Hansen also said that if there should ever be a nuclear fall-out, the SMART-T is the only piece of equipment that can still send and receive signals through a nuclear cloud.
Herb said this SMART-T is on a point-to-point shot with another at Yongsan to allow communication across South Korea and has always been a reliable piece of equipment.
"For this particular mission, our SMART-T is hooked up to our Single Shelter Switch (SSS), our Satellite Transportable Terminal (STT), and our Phoenix," said Herb.
The SSS is much smaller in size, but is designed and intended for rapid deployment with the demanding "First In" capabilities.
A staple for network expansions, the SSS is enhanced to provide joint and coalition interoperability acting as a filter for the information the SMART-T is receiving.
"The SSS can provide more service capabilities for the most users compared to other tactical equipment," said Chezum.
Herb explained, "Running the SSS, which is our main piece of equipment, the communications and bandwidth signals we pull from the sky pass through it. Then, they are pushed through our user access cases before it goes out to Eighth Army."
Additionally, the STT was designed and intended for challenging conditions and demanding operations of the warfigher. It is a combat-proven, mobile, ground terminal to establish secure voice, video and data communications almost globally.
"The STT is currently shooting out to the Camp Humphreys mini-hub and is pulling about 2 megabytes of Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA)," said Herb.
Finally, the Super High Frequency (SHF) Phoenix provides multi-band capabilities in ranges that work with commercial and military SHF satellites for expeditionary signal battalions.
A key component in communications for the warfighter, the Phoenix is a tactical satellite that allows transmission of high bandwidth voice, video and data.
"Our Phoenix is also shooting to the Camp Humphreys mini-hub and is pulling about 28 megabytes of tactical bandwidth," said Herb. "This is my third exercise since being in Korea, and this is the highest amount we have pulled."
Spc. Kaleb L. Stewart, a Satellite Communication Systems Operator and Maintainer, 1st Platoon, said the Phoenix takes a considerable amount of time to set-up and be operational, but it is a highly reliable and easy dish to work with.
For many Soldiers of the 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, this is not their first tactical training.
"This is my third exercise with the 304th, as well as the third for many others," Herb said, "but even though we have many Soldiers that come and go, I know I can see a big, distinct improvement from the first one to this one."
Part of that improvement on success comes from being experienced and familiar with their customer, added Herb.
"With our customer, in this case Eighth Army, it helps to know what they need and how to help them. Our established relationship makes planning and providing easier," said Herb.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lloyd F. Granville, G-6 Senior Network Engineer for Eighth Army said the 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion has been giving great support.
"Together with the 304th, we work with strategic and tactical communications. Whether it's VTCs or just communication with our guys that the commander needs, they provide it to us," said Granville.
"We look forward to continued support from the 1st Signal Brigade," Granville said.
Soldiers from the 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion with their tactical, combat-ready communications equipment, increase the size of the battlefield by increasing the range of communications between command teams and their warfighters.
The 1st Signal Brigade enables joint and combined command, control, communications, computers, and information management operations throughout Korea to support United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, United States Forces Korea, and Eighth Army's ability to lead, direct and maneuver available forces during armistice, crisis, or war.