By CPT Bryce A. Hollweg & 1LT Bryan A. ChanceyAugust 6, 2014
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea - Soldiers from the 501st Signal Company stationed at Camp Humphreys, South Korea gained an insight into what "the other side" of signal operations looks like during training July 8.
The group of information technology specialists currently serving in the Korean Theater of Operations Network Enterprise Center (NEC), traded a day of conducting Help Desk support, Information Assurance vulnerability scans and Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) services for War fighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) and tactical communications training.
During the Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon, Ga., information technology specialists only spend a fraction of their time training and becoming familiar with the tactical equipment that allows Soldiers and Army leaders to communicate and conduct Mission Command on the battlefield. Being collocated with the tactical 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade, provided an opportunity for strategic signal Soldiers to cross train on WIN-T equipment and learn the practices and procedures that their tactical signal counterparts are employing in their day-to-day operations.
Many of the Soldiers who attended the training will be moving on to expeditionary Signal battalions and division Signal companies where working in a NEC will become a thing of the past. Gaining a basic understanding of how the tactical equipment works and the capabilities that the systems provide war fighters will ultimately pay dividends by allowing Soldiers to seamlessly integrate and become contributing members of the Joint Network Node (JNN) and Customer Premise Network (CPN) teams in which they will likely find themselves.
Pfc. Devaughn Gonzales, an information technology specialist from the Area III Hardware/Software section, 501st Signal Company, 36th Signal Battalion, learned how satellite terminals track different satellites, how to control the Satellite Transportable Terminal (STT) and how CPNs were set up. "Because of this training, I will generally know what to expect at my next unit, being that it is a tactical unit," stated Gonzales.
Pfc. Brian Baham, an information technology specialist working in the LAN/WAN section of the NEC, 501st Signal Company, 36th Signal Battalion, shared his thoughts on the importance of the training. "At first I didn't understand why we needed satellite communications on the battlefield when we have radios," said Baham, "but during this training, we learned how to extend these systems to the battlefield so those out in the field can work on the same domain as those in the rear. We also learned how to troubleshoot some equipment including the JNN and the STT and how to manually adjust the STT to acquire signal."
The Soldiers of the 501st Signal Company will also participate in the upcoming Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in August, deploying with CPN teams from the 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, building upon the training they recently received and gaining valuable hands-on experience with the tactical WIN-T equipment.