CAMP HENRY, Korea -- The 36th Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade has been conducting Dragon University during the month of Feb. to introduce new Soldiers to the networks and communications equipment used in Korea.
The course is conducted quarterly, lasting four weeks, and is required for all signal Soldiers coming into the battalion. Soldiers are awarded a certificate of completion and earn promotion points for successful completion.
"Dragon U trains newly arrived soldiers on the various standards, procedures and technical skills required to operate on the Korean land war network," said Spc. Randy Yejo, an instructor with the Dragon University, 36th Sig. Battalion. "We're focusing on teaching them the skills to be able to manage the network and troubleshoot any issue that can arise as well as how to stay in compliance."
"Since I just reclassed to signal it is a little bit different from what I'm used to," said Sgt. Yvenson Calixte, a Dragon University student. "This Dragon University helps you to know what you are getting into once you come to Korea."
The course is designed to give Soldiers a jump-start on their daily duties by giving them familiarization with the problems and challenges they will face in their daily routine.
"Dragon University takes the training conducted by the Soldiers in AIT and expands upon it to prepare them to work as tier two technical support on the Korean Land War Network," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Alejandra Ortiz, the lead instructor for Dragon University, HHC, 36th Signal Battalion.
"Dragon University runs for four weeks with multiple portions. We start with familiarization with networks in Korea and then it goes to the network portion, which includes hands on device configuration," said Yejo.
"It gives you the skill set you need for the network, it gives you what you're going to need to operate and lets you know who you will be working with," said Calixte.
After they have completed that they will move on to desktop support such as imaging, said Yejo. The university then ends in a situational training exercise where they will build and secure a network.
The university provides training past what students learn during Advanced Individual Training for their specific MOS and tailors the coursework to the challenges imposed by the Korean networks.
"Stateside networks and Korean ones are very different," said Yejo. "There are different devices and different network systems in place in Korea that aren't typically used in the state side networks. Some of these devices are not taught in the AIT."
"I'm learning a lot I didn't learn in AIT," said Calixte. "We get hands on with how to configure the routers and the new cables. We didn't have a lot of this in AIT."
The training continues outside of the classroom, requiring additional study to succeed in the course.
"You're going to have to do a lot of studying outside of Dragon U," said Yejo. "To be able to really and truly understand what we are doing, you're going to have to do a little extra research on it."
However, the additional effort is not without its reward as Soldiers are better prepared to conduct operations and serve the communication needs of unit across Korea.
"It helps a lot, for me being new to the career field it was invaluable, said Calixte. "This school helps the Soldier grab exactly what they need. I would recommend this course for every new Soldier that is coming into this field."