FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii- Soldier and Civilian Signaleers from around the world converged on Oahu to share best practices and commemorate the 154th birthday of the U.S. Army's Signal Corps during Signal Week, Sep. 2-5.
"This is your forum and your Army, so please talk among yourselves and make the most of our time gathered here," said Maj. Gen. Lawrence W. Brock III, Commanding General, 311th Signal Command (Theater), who co-hosted the event with 311th SC(T) Command Sgt. Maj. Darris Curry. "We are communicators by trade, so let's talk this week."
The annual two-day Communicators Forum, capstone event of the week, was conducted for the first time this year as a joint event, to include Information Managers from across the Department of Defense. Civilian Communicators, Senior enlisted leaders and commissioned officers collaborated and received updates on the integral role the Army Signal mission plays in Cyber Defense.
"For those of us in the Signal and communications world, especially here in the Pacific, NetCom is who we turn to, for everything," said Brock. "We're fortunate to have Maj. Gen. Morrison and Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Watson here today to give us a few words and hear what's on your mind, so please ask questions. The decisions we make here will affect each one of you down the road. Know your network."
Major General John B. Morrison Jr., Commander, U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command and Deputy Commanding General U.S. Army Cyber Command, Signal Center of Excellence discussed his top priorities and way ahead for the Signal Corps.
"I've been focusing most of my time on Operationalizing NetCom, and posturing us to delivering a truly global network," Morrison said. We are modernizing our network in partnership with Defense Information Systems Agency and the Air Force for the joint community. This is something completely different than we've ever done, and it will really change networks. Coming soon to a theater near you - an inherently joint construct that operates in a joint, global context!"
"As we modernize, we're also working hard on establishing standards across all theaters. Because while each theater is unique and there might be some "tyranny of distance" challenges, our basic 101 of communications, even if we're on a coalition network, are still the same," said Morrison. "We need to focus on operating and talking the same, early and often, so as we make that turn into this joint context, it will be much easier."
"Two things about Maj. Gen. Morrison -- he has a passion for making sure that everything in the Signal world looks right, and he takes pride in the fact that he understands what goes on at the G6 level and at the troop level, of what we do every day -- protect the secure communications assets that we're entrusted with, both on the battlefield and within our buildings," Brock said. "We could not ask for a better advocate for us in NetCom. Sir, you get it and you listen, and we thank you."
The weeklong event that that brings several hundred Soldiers and Civilians together for professional development and espirit de corps included a Prayer Breakfast, the Signal Corps Regimental Association golf scramble, the Signal Regimental run, and finally the Signal Ball.
The ball began with the posting of the colors, singing of the National Anthem and an invocation by 311th SC(T) Chaplain, Col. Col.) Jonathan McGraw.
The Bronze Order of Mercury, a Signal Corps Regimental Association award reserved for those whose personal contributions significantly impact the Signal Corps, were presented to
The Bronze Wahatchee award, for those who have voluntarily contributed to the improvement of the Signal Corps community, was presented to Beverly Kawalawski, an Information Technology specialist for the 30th Signal Battalion, who has for the past few years handmade and donated the floral arrangements on all the tables at the ball.
The Silver Wahatchee, for those who have contributed significant long-term service to improve the Signal Corps community was presented to Mrs. Gretchen Heimann, spouse of Col. Chuck Heimann, of the U.S. Army, Pacific G6 team.
Attendees cheered on their battle buddies participating in an interactive Tahitian Dance performance by the Hawaiian Hula Company, and the traditional cake cutting ceremony was performed by Morrison and the youngest Signaleer in attendance.
The official portion of the evening concluded with the retiring of the colors, leaving those left in attendance to celebrate a proud history of 154 years of Signal excellence, and end their eventful week with dancing.
"When folks ask me what is Signal's participation in Cyber Defense, I tell them that there is no cyber without Signal," said guest speaker Morrison on the importance of the Signal mission in the Pacific. "A majority of "big Army" discussions right now are focused on what we do. There is a growing recognition among our senior leaders, on how important providing and protecting the network is, to allow the Army to operate as gets smaller, and looks at how to best rebalance the force."