BALTI, Republic of Moldova (July 24, 2015) -- Signaleers, from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the Moldovan army, conducted communications training here as part of Exercise Common Effort 15, July 20-22.

Common Effort brings together Soldiers from host-nation Moldova, Georgia, Poland, Romania and the United States to increase interoperability and contribute to European security.

As part of the exercise, signaleers, from the 173rd Airborne's 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion signal company and the Republic of Moldova's Signal Battalion, trained specifically to understand and integrate each other's communications systems.

During the training, signaleers conducted demonstrations and explained equipment capabilities and functionality. The signaleers then bridged U.S. and Moldovan radios using a Tactical Voice Bridge, or TVB, which directly facilitated combined communications. The TVB allowed the units to implement secure combined radio networks over FM and high-frequency.

"Working with the Moldovan signaleers has helped us improve communications interoperability by developing tactics and procedures that we can carry forward to future exercises and operations," said U.S. Army Sgt. Derek McGarry, a senior retransmission noncommissioned officer with Charlie Company, 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion. "The Moldovan Signal Battalion has proven to be a tremendous partner and brings many capabilities to support combat units."

The signaleers also conducted training on digital communications equipment, including network establishment, satellite operations and network maintenance.

"The Moldovan military obtained great training in radio, voice over internet protocol technology and satellite communications," said Moldovan Army Capt. Ion Cebotari, a technician with the Moldovan Signal Battalion. "Despite the fact that our equipment is different, we were able to bridge technologies on both tactical radios and digital communications."

The 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion's signal company regularly conducts combined communications training throughout Europe to bridge partner radio systems between NATO allies and partners and implement secure radio interoperability solutions for combat units.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the U.S. Army Contingency Force in Europe, providing ready forces anywhere in the U.S., European, Africa and Central Commands areas of responsibility within 18 hours.