Communications in motion: Iron Soldiers train on inflatable satellite communications system
By Spc. Matthew MarcellusMay 15, 2019
FORT BLISS, Texas -- Communications is a key warfighting function, and being able to communicate in the most austere environments is a vital aspect of operational success.In order to ensure tactical readiness on future mission sets, Soldiers assigned to the 1st Armored Division's headquarters G6 signal staff section trained in constructing and operating the Transportable Tactical Command Communications (T2C2) heavy and lite systems during a training event held May 2 at the Mission Training Center (MTC) on Fort Bliss, Texas."We are currently training with the T2C2 equipment as we're going away from government-provided equipment toward more commercial and off-the-shelf equipment," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Polle, a multi-channel transmission systems operator-maintainer with the division's headquarters G6 section.The T2C2 is an inflatable satellite antenna, developed by an Army small business partner, providing a significant upgrade in the Army's communications capability and efficiency - providing fast voice, video and data communications to the Army's tactical network to obtain the situational awareness and mission command capabilities in a mobile and adaptable operation."This system is important, as it allows commanders to send smaller teams out to support smaller units and detachments working in remote areas," said Staff Sgt. Polle. "We won't have to send out a large team which can take two trucks, a generator and six or seven heavy cases of communications equipment. Now we can take the T2C2 system in one truck with two Soldiers who are highly-trained and mobile to set up the system in 30 minutes to provide communication capability."The T2C2 system provides robust high-bandwidth network communications and mission command at the tactical edge significant improving communication in tactical environments. The expeditionary capabilities of T2C2 improve readiness, operational flexibility and increase a unit's ability to quickly relocate at a moment's notice.The inflatable T2C2 system satellite system is part of the U.S. Army's ongoing modernization strategy proving Soldiers with the latest cutting-edge technology to ensure that Soldiers remain agile and lethal as they complete whatever mission is placed before them."There are a lot of changes and new equipment updates going on right now," said Staff Sgt. Dao Yang, a nodal network systems operator-maintainer with the 1st Armored Division's G6 staff. "We're always learning something new and adapting to ensure consistent readiness."For these Iron Soldiers, training on systems like the T2C2 satellite system is what interested them to enlist in the U.S. Army's Signal Corps. Individuals who chose to work as tactical communicators in the military must have both technical knowledge and unparalleled adaptability in order to work in the diverse and ever-changing domain of the signal and communications field."It's helpful when you have Soldiers such as these who are motivated to learn and operate these types of systems," said Polle. "With new systems like this, Soldiers are getting day one training that really goes through the systems, motivating our Soldiers to be hands-on with the equipment."These Soldiers are also training with the T2C2 system in preparation for upcoming Iron Focus 19.1 exercise. The exercise is a comprehensive collective training event focused on improving the 1st Armored Division's and its subordinate brigade's overall combat readiness and deployability during the two-week exercise."The main purpose of employing the T2C2 system during Iron Focus 19.1 will be to test out its capabilities," said Polle. "We're going to attach it to mission command systems to see how the T2C2 handles our processes in a complex and rapid training environment as we become a mobile force during real-world operations."