Training for war: The signal Soldier

By 1st Lt. Evan Fitzgerald, Regimental Support Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry RegimentOctober 24, 2014

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FORT IRWIN, Calif. -- Soldiers of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment like Spc. Matthew A. Stevenson, a signal support systems specialist from San Antonio, know what it's like to bear the heat and 19 continuous work- days that come with the territory of training units from across the globe for war, here.

For Stevenson, life in the Mojave Desert brings something new every day. Despite these hardships, the mission must continue, and it is the 11th ACR Blackhorse Soldiers on ground that make it happen.

Stevenson is tasked during 10 training exercises a year to provide anything related to communications, digital or analog to the 11th ACR's Regimental Support Squadron. The set-up, breakdown, maintenance and improvement of computer systems, radios and networks are his forte.

"I educate myself so that I can be proficient in my job," said Stevenson. "Anything we are asked to do will be completed, no matter how long the mission takes."

It was family that brought Stevenson into the Army, having graduated from McArthur High School in San Antonio; Stevenson worked a string of jobs including becoming a medical assistant. It was his sister, already a soldier that turned him onto the idea of joining the military. After attending basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Stevenson was sent to ride with the Blackhorse at Fort Irwin.

Stevenson continues demonstrates his motivation and desire to succeed as a member of the 11th ACR. While initially cautious about joining the Army, he is committed to making the Army a career.

"For future soldiers thinking about joining, do your research and talk to people," said Stevenson. "Don't be afraid to talk to anyone, if you don't ask questions nothing will get answered."

As the 11th ACR continues to train units for war, the importance of the signal soldier on ground is never forgotten. By utilizing some of the Army's most advanced communications and computer systems on the battlefield, Stevenson empowers the Blackhorse to shoot, move and communicate effectively. It is this hard work, determination and the ability of individual soldiers working as a team that result in the Blackhorse providing the best training possible.