By Sgt. Brandon AndersonJuly 4, 2015
NOWA DĘBA, Poland -- During any military engagement, the ability of commanders to communicate quickly and effectively with their Soldiers can often determine the outcome of the battle. For the commanders of Operation Atlantic Resolve, this capability is provided by the Soldiers of the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, headquartered in Grafenwöhr, Germany.
These highly skilled teams of Soldiers provide digital and voice communication for company and battalion-sized elements, setting up and maintaining the networks so essential to military operations.
Norfolk, Virginia, native Sgt. Adekunle Okusaga, the team chief in charge of setting up and establishing the communications network for Troop P, 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, said his unit is usually able to set up their equipment and have the network up and running in a little under an hour.
"The first thing we have to do when arriving on site is to make sure we have a clear line-of-sight for our dish to link up with the satellite," said Okusaga. "We try to select a spot close enough to the tactical operations center without a lot of trees hindering the signal."
After establishing a strong signal, the team runs fiberoptic cables from the dish, and begins the process of making sure the unit's computers and telephones are integrated into the newly established network.
Okusaga said he believes the skills he and his team provide is necessary to the commanders, as without the communications piece, commanders wouldn't be able to accomplish their job as effectively as they need to.
"We are the thread that ties Soldiers and their commanders together by creating the cohesion necessary for them to be able to accomplish their missions," said Okusaga. "We give commanders the ability to send up and receive real-time reports and information."
Okusaga said even though signal Soldiers can't always physically see the impact of their efforts, what they do is essential to operational success.
"As a Signal Corps Soldier, I don't always get to the chance to see an immediate impact on what we provide, but I know we're critical to the success of any mission," said Okusaga.
Capt. Kaleb Blankenship, the commander of Troop P, said establishing and maintaining these systems is critical to his mission, as it allows him to not only maintain contact with his superiors and subordinates, but allows them to better tell the story of Atlantic Resolve.
"The work they're doing is absolutely necessary, as it helps maintain contact and communication with our higher headquarters while running decentralized operations, like we're doing here," said Blankenship. "It also helps by providing the capability to tell our story to our allies in Operation Atlantic Resolve."
Although the average Soldier may not be able to fully see the efforts of his team, Okusaga says he knows his team brings up their morale.
"Even though we bring the commanders the ability to communicate, I know we also bring the Soldiers the ability to communicate with their families as well," said Okusaga. "By doing this, we impact the mission in ways we rarely see."