By Noriko Kudo, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs OfficeOctober 7, 2015
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Oct. 8, 2015)-- Maj. Gen. Lawrence W. Brock III and Command Sgt. Maj. Darris Curry, the commanding general and command sergeant major of 311th Signal Command (Theater), respectively, visited the 78th Signal Battalion from Sept. 28 to 30 on Camp Zama during a recent tour of their Pacific Region.
Curry said the purposes of the visit are to check on health and welfare of the Soldiers, civilians, family and the mission of the 78th Signal Battalion.
"The mission is to support I Corp (Forward) as well as U.S. Army Japan in their day-to-day operations as far as the communication infrastructure in Japan."
Brock said the Pacific region is so broad that senior leadership usually don't have an opportunity to interface with the lower commanding leadership to understand their specific challenges.
"We make decisions back at higher headquarters on how we should support," said Brock, it is important to conduct these types of visits to engage with our Japanese counterparts.
This visit will help 311th Signal Command ensure that the 78th Signal Battalion is meeting the intent and requirements of the customers that they service, said Curry.
Curry said, the 78th Signal Battalion provides infrastructure not just at Camp Zama, but also for Okinawa and Shariki, northern post on Honshu, Japan.
"They provide the capability for the U.S. Army Japan and I Corps (Forward) command to do command-and-control of the Army forces here in Japan," said Curry.
Curry, who is visiting Japan for the first time in his current position, visited with the Soldiers and employees that work at Sagami General Depot installation.
Curry said everything is changing and expanding, and 78th Signal Battalion is providing a higher level of support to Shariki and SGD.
From the headquarters in Hawaii through the 516th Signal Brigade, Curry said, they will provide more support, personnel and resources to 78th Signal Battalion to better support their mission in Japan.
"We just need to provide more oversight from our level which is one of the purposes of us coming here," said Curry.
Also during this visit, Brock toured Stars and Stripes, a local military-affiliated news source based in Tokyo.
"We are in the information and technology business - how we communicate is important on how we support our Soldiers and families," said Brock.
"Stars and Stripes has been a key communication tool we've had for decades," said Brock, "I never had the opportunity to go and thank (them) for what they do for our families and Soldiers out here in the Pacific."
Brock said another mission of 78th Signal Battalion is to provide the connectivity, which allows the commanders to communicate, and to keep the bases connected to help commanders make informed decisions when they need to.
Lt. Col. Thaddeus Underwood, commander of 78th Signal Battalion, said during this visit, he thinks that Brock and Curry now have a better understanding and greater appreciation of the challenges that the unit faces with the dispersed customer base they support mainland Japan, Okinawa and Guam.
"Being geographically separated from the brigade headquarters and Theater Signal Command headquarters, which are in Hawaii, it's always great for our Soldiers, civilians, and family members to get the opportunity to see and speak with senior leadership when they come to our area of operations," said Underwood.
By showing Brock and Curry the day-to-day operations, Underwood said that he was able to show them that 78th Signal Battalion provides "exceptional IT support to users across the Pacific."
It is possible to convey what we do on a daily basis via video teleconference, phone calls or by email, said Underwood; however, it is much more beneficial to physically walk the areas and tour the facilities of the customers that 78th Signal Battalion support.
"You can only get that by being here on the ground," said Underwood.
Brock said 78th Signal Battalion is like "AT&T" for the Army communications.
Since Brock's last visit, May 2015, he said he has noticed the emphasis that Maj. Gen. James F. Pasquarette, commanding general of USARJ has put on communication.
"His emphasis is actually strong for what we do- planning is a key," said Brock.
The staff elements and the support elements that make up 78th Signal Battalion work much closer than they have been, said Brock, and will be going forward.