RAMNICU VALCEA, Romania -- Nobody thinks about their network connection until it goes down, but in the Army where communications are essential to enabling mission command, someone is always monitoring the health and status of the network.
U.S. Army Sgt. Rogelio Hercules is the Network Operations (NETOPS) noncommissioned officer in charge assigned to Alpha Company, 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 2nd Theater Signal Brigade. He's currently in Romania responsible for maintaining up-to-date accurate information and statuses for 13 teams operating in two countries supporting exercise Saber Guardian 17.
Exercise Saber Guardian 17, a U.S. Army Europe-led, multinational exercise, will take place in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania July 11-20, 2017. SG17 is larger in both scale and scope over its predecessors. Approximately 25,000 service members from 30 allied and partner nations will take part, and the exercise highlights participant deterrence capabilities, specifically the ability to mass forces at any given time anywhere in Europe.
Teams of four to five Soldiers operate remotely, sometimes in austere conditions, to provide communications support to units in the field.
"Companies are the first line of support to the teams in the field," Hercules said.
As the company NETOPS NCOIC, Hercules monitors the network, troubleshoots any issues and elevates trouble tickets for assistance. He's also responsible for communicating network status to "Lightning Ops," the Theater NETOPS for Saber Guardian 17 at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base.
"The most important thing is making sure everyone is on the same page, that information flows through the right channels, and every issue is addressed in a timely manner," Hercules said.
The company is supporting a variety of units at Saber Guardian 17, including active-duty and National Guard. At Ramnicu Valcea, A Co., 44th Expeditionary Signal Bn., will provide voice and data over U.S. and Army Coalition Mission Environment, or ACME, networks to the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Georgia National Guard, and the 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, enabling mission command for a day and night river crossing July 16-18.
2nd Theater Signal Brigade conducts Department of Defense Information Network operations to enable mission command in support of U.S. Army, Joint and multinational operations throughout the U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of operation.