By Lt. Col. Jefferson Wolfe
7th Mission Support Command Public Affairs Officer

NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria - The Soldiers of the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion kept the communications running throughout Saber Guardian for the 21st Theater Support Command's Forward Command Post.

Command Sgt. Maj. Raymond Brown, senior enlisted leader of the 7th Mission Support Command, presented coins, July 13, to the Soldiers of 2nd Platoon, Charlie Co., 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, from Grafenwoehr, Germany.

He acknowledged their efforts in keeping communications going for the FCP during Exercise Saber Guardian 17 at Novo Selo Training Area in Bulgaria and their professionalism and flexibility.

Brown made an impromptu visit to their Tactical Operating Center, which was set up behind the 21st TSC FCP's facility.

"They were able to show their operation and what they were doing in a very organized and effective manner," he said. "It just struck me as a very professional group."

The dozen Soldiers in the team set up their equipment for the exercise in early June and will continue to work through late July, said 2nd Lt. Michael Davisson, the platoon leader.

The unit is providing secure and unclassified communications, including internet services and telephones, he said.

"We monitor and manage the network," he added.

They worked with the Network Enterprise Center, the 21st TSC FCP G-6, Charlie Co.'s operations and Lightning Operations to provide the service and keep it going.

The other Soldiers in Charlie Co. are providing communications at other Saber Guardian locations.

"Our goal is to allow Saber Guardian to kick off without a hitch," said 1st Lt. Cye Heatherly, the company executive officer.

Many of the Soldiers working to support the 21st TSC FCP were learning a new military occupational specialty through on the job training, Brown said.

Staff Sgt. Steven Jolin, the non-commissioned officer in charge, said he was proud of the Soldiers' ability to cross train.

"They have been enabling the mission to happen for the warfighters," he said.

In addition to keeping communications going, the Soldiers made a great effort to keep their work area clean and organized, Davisson said.

"We take a lot of pride in our site and keeping it clean," he said.

21st Theater Support Command's Forward Command Post is composed of Soldiers from the 21st TSC and the 21st Special Troops Battalion. It also includes the Army Reserve's 7th Mission Support Command, the Medical Support Unit - Europe and the 103rd Expeditionary Support Command.

The FCP has been providing mission command from a forward location to be able to deconflict any friction that occurs while providing logistical support to the 14,000 U.S. Soldiers in the three-country exercise.

"At the end of the day, they enabled all of us," Brown said.