By Capt. Chad E Cooper (35th Signal Brigade)September 18, 2018
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The U.S. Military Academy's Department of Military Instruction hosted its Branch Week, Sept. 10-14, bringing several hundred tons of military equipment, vehicles and weapons for the academy's spin on a college career fair.
Soldiers from the 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB), 35th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade (TTSB) stationed at Fort Stewart, GA., were in attendance to show cadets that the Army's Signal Corps..has the over looked strategic function of establishing communication networks in remote areas.
While the tanks, helicopters and armored vehicles attracted crowds, the week-long event was really an opportunity for the Corps of Cadets to learn after 16 years of warfare in the Middle East and with the constantly growing importance of electronics in the Army, the challenges facing this generation of cadets are different than any before.
Representing the Signal Corps were Soldiers from A Company, 63rd ESB. They introduced hundreds of cadets to static displays with state-of-the-art communications equipment and explained how today's Army uses more than the gear cadets are currently using during training.
Soldiers of the Signal Corps explained the duties of a junior officer and the communications equipment they would be responsible for and see how the signal corps is changing to meet the future needs of the Army once they commission as second lieutenants.
Where the network really shines is by providing command and control, or situational awareness, not only to U.S. forces, but also to non-governmental organizations as well as other interagency partners to operate on one network simultaneously.
By sharing critical information such as locations, mission status and progress that's been made, the Army network supports improved coordination across the coalition of different organizations responding to our nations call.
The Soldiers demonstrated rapid insertion Signal Corps capabilities, to include use of the satellite communications radios. The 35th TTSB Soldiers explained their communication capabilities, and how as Signal Soldiers within an Expeditionary Brigade are always ready to deploy world-class communications anytime and anywhere. Cadets were introduced to how vital communications are in every operation that the U.S. Military operates and informed cadets that signal support missions are not just limited to military operations. As seen in the events of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Puerto Rico, the electricity and telephone/data infrastructures were severely damaged rendering them unserviceable, making communication impossible thus requiring Army Signal assets on the ground to enable civilian first responders a real-time, accurate assessment of the physical condition of the city. This 'accurate assessment' of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, or of any natural disaster, can only be achieved through the provision of real-time communications. And this is where satellite communications played a vital role.
In areas where there is no power, infrastructure or public amenities, satellite communications can provide that all-important lifeline to the outside world. You can expect our Soldiers to go out, quickly assess the situation and provide communication support to whatever senior commanders are on the ground that are currently leading a military or recovery operation. You will be tasked to set up an array of tactical satellite communications systems providing telephones and email support, and anything else you might need to pass information from Point A to Point B.
During any operation communications is undeniably the most important element and without communication, there is no way to respond to emergency calls for help, or to coordinate the critical equipment, supplies and personnel needed to assist these devastated areas.
This was meant to get their juices flowing and to show them there are more challenging branches in the Army. The U.S. Army has delivered various communication network capabilities for rapid deployment supporting military and diverse humanitarian coalitions. We just wanted to show them, this is the Signal Corps and this is what we do for the Army.
One Pillar of the U.S. Army's Signal Corps is to plan, build, operate, and defend the network that expands not only the U.S. Army's capability but Joint networks throughout the world that enable mission command for full spectrum operations that support U.S. joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational (JIIM) activities, challenges, issues, and to keep up with the ever-changing future operating environment.
At the end of the day we are One Team of proud and trusted professionals delivering responsive, reliable, and operationally relevant network capabilities to our fellow warfighters -- on time and on target, regardless of location or mission.