By Mr. William B King (2nd Signal Brigade)July 13, 2017
NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria -- Users in Europe are familiar with the Army Enterprise Service Desk -- Europe and Africa, otherwise known as 119, for helping to resolve computer and network issues.
For exercise Saber Guardian 17, Soldiers from the U.S., Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania are working together at the International Help Desk at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, to assist users in the exercise with similar computer and network issues.
The exercise is a U.S. Army Europe-led, multinational exercise taking place from July 11-20, 2017. Approximately 25,000 service members from 30 allied and partner nations will take part to highlight participant deterrence capabilities, specifically the ability to mass forces at any given time anywhere in Europe.
Spc. Chris Gibson, an information technology systems technician assigned to the 86th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, said the help desk is assisting users with connecting to the network, account creation, troubleshooting and touch labor, including running cables and connecting computers, printers and phones.
Gibson said the help desk Soldiers have all benefited from learning from each other, and said they have even taught him some things.
"They're very knowledgeable in their field. If I don't know a step to fix something or if they know a better way, then they show me another way how to fix it," he said.
Gibson, whose unit is headquartered at Fort Bliss, Texas, said he has benefited from working with Soldiers from other countries and backgrounds.
"It's a great experience to be able to work with our international partners. I'm learning Bulgarian, Hungarian, while doing my job and advancing in my career field," Gibson said.
Capt. Jason Chambers, the G-6 Communications and Information Management officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division, said the help desk interoperability has been phenomenal.
"We've been able to employ the (Army Coalition Mission Environment) network built by (U.S. Army Europe) and facilitate it to all our users," Chambers said. "One of the biggest challenges we had in the beginning was to try and incorporate the allies as far as administrative rights, but we were able to get that completed."
Chambers said the biggest benefit has been the ability for Soldiers from the different nations to cross train and learn from each other.
Pvt. George Vasilev, assigned to the Bulgarian Army Joint Forces Command, said he has learned a lot from observing how the other countries work.
"I've gained a lot of experience. Helping with building the network, account creation (video teleconference) issues. It's a very good experience to learn how people in other armies work, so we can take our lessons back," Vasilev said.
The International Help Desk has resolved more than 75 trouble tickets to date.
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.