JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- An international military competition between 174 teams concluded as competitors attempted a series of high-frequency radio challenges to determine the competition's best signal team, Oct. 23, 2019.
A joint JBLM team of 7th Infantry Division Soldiers, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), and airmen from the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron represented the installation in the Noble Skywave exercise, facing competitors from around the world to include Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Spain, and Iraq.
The JBLM team finished in 4th place amongst the 86 U.S. military teams and in 29th place overall, sending high-frequency signals from the installation to other competitors receiving them around the world.
Although Noble Skywave was a competition, it was a distinctive opportunity for service members to test this unique skillset and furthering a shared understanding with their service member peers on a global scale.
"It's become kind of a lost art because of the skill that operators need, aside from long-range surveillance units or special-forces units," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert B. Groszmann, a 7th Inf. Div. communications noncommissioned officer. "It's coming back now because it's more of a robust and long-haul means to communicate than tactical satellite or SINCGARS radios."
The 36-hour competition was broken down into four phases to ensure the unique skillset furthered the shared understanding with their service member peers on a global scale.
The first phase being contact with the Network Controller at the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals school in Base Kingston, Ontario, Canada. The second phase was "free play," encouraging teams to contact any station answering on a designated preset network frequencies.
The team challenge, phase three, partnered teams together as they attempted to contact each other. Team pairings were based upon the distance between partners to ensure equal settings for all of the participants. In the last phase, each team was tested to make the longest distance call.
During the competition, the JBLM team connected with a team in Italy, a Peruvian submarine near South America, and a team in New Zealand, which was more than 9,000 km away.
"This is just a friendly competition, and it's a low-pressure way for us to see how we stack up against everybody else," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob M. Sinovic, from the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron. "It's more fun."