Staff Sgt. Hasan Hamad (left), a communications chief and Defense Coordinating Elements noncommissioned officer for Region II with U.S. Army North, and Spc. James Higgins(right), a communications sergeant, and DCE NCO for Region I with U.S. Army North, culminate their training with a live collaborative software meeting, during the DCE Region Communications non-commissioned officer training, May 17- 21, 2021. The purpose of this training was to build relationships among the DCE NCO’s as well as increase their ability and proficiency to operate all of U.S. Army North’s tactical voice and data communications equipment. (U.S. Army Photo by Bethany L. Huff)
Staff Sgt. Hasan Hamad (left), a communications chief and Defense Coordinating Elements noncommissioned officer for Region II with U.S. Army North, and Spc. James Higgins(right), a communications sergeant, and DCE NCO for Region I with U.S. Army North, culminate their training with a live collaborative software meeting, during the DCE Region Communications non-commissioned officer training, May 17- 21, 2021. The purpose of this training was to build relationships among the DCE NCO’s as well as increase their ability and proficiency to operate all of U.S. Army North’s tactical voice and data communications equipment. (U.S. Army Photo by Bethany L. Huff) (Photo Credit: Bethany Huff) VIEW ORIGINAL

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – As June 1st marks the official start of hurricane season, the communication team at U.S. Army North took the opportunity to train Soldiers in the Defense Coordinating Elements and the 76th Operational Response Command on communication methods in disaster responses at Joint Base San Antonio from May 17- 21, 2021.

Normally an annual exercise, the DCE Region Communications noncommissioned officer training was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The importance of this training is twofold,” said Sgt. Maj. Jeffery St. John, the G6 Assistant Chief of Staff for U.S. Army North. “We want to put names to faces between the DCE region communications NCO and the G6 staff. Then we want to ensure their ability to proficiently operate all of U.S. Army North’s tactical voice and data communication equipment.”

Each DCE region has a disaster that’s more common in their area than in other regions. For certain regions hurricanes hit the hardest, while in others wildland fires devastate the areas, explained St. John.

“These Soldiers are able to network and integrate together to teach each other lessons learned from their own region,” said St. John. “This allows them to lean forward and draw from each other’s experiences.”

People leading the response efforts is half the battle, knowing how to use the equipment is the next hurdle. With the equipment being commercialized, there isn’t a standardized Army how-to manual. This training allows for familiarization as well as proficiency drills.

Soldiers assigned to various Defense Coordinating Element Regions within U.S. Army North culminate their training with a live collaborative software meeting, during the DCE Region Communications noncommissioned officer training, May 17- 21, 2021. The purpose of this training was to build relationships among the DCE NCO’s as well as increase their ability and proficiency to operate all of U.S. Army North’s tactical voice and data communications equipment. (U.S. Army Photo by Bethany L. Huff)
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers assigned to various Defense Coordinating Element Regions within U.S. Army North culminate their training with a live collaborative software meeting, during the DCE Region Communications noncommissioned officer training, May 17- 21, 2021. The purpose of this training was to build relationships among the DCE NCO’s as well as increase their ability and proficiency to operate all of U.S. Army North’s tactical voice and data communications equipment. (U.S. Army Photo by Bethany L. Huff) (Photo Credit: Bethany Huff) VIEW ORIGINAL
Sgt. Maj. Jeffery St. John(left), the G6 Assistant Chief of Staff for U.S. Army North, talks to Spc. James Higgins(right), a communications sergeant, and Defense Coordinating Elements noncommissioned officer for Region I with U.S. Army North, during the DCE Region Communications non-commissioned officer training, May 17- 21, 2021. The purpose of this training was to build relationships among the DCE NCO’s as well as increase their ability and proficiency to operate all of U.S. Army North’s tactical voice and data communications equipment. (U.S. Army Photo by Bethany L. Huff)
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Maj. Jeffery St. John(left), the G6 Assistant Chief of Staff for U.S. Army North, talks to Spc. James Higgins(right), a communications sergeant, and Defense Coordinating Elements noncommissioned officer for Region I with U.S. Army North, during the DCE Region Communications non-commissioned officer training, May 17- 21, 2021. The purpose of this training was to build relationships among the DCE NCO’s as well as increase their ability and proficiency to operate all of U.S. Army North’s tactical voice and data communications equipment. (U.S. Army Photo by Bethany L. Huff) (Photo Credit: Bethany Huff) VIEW ORIGINAL

“Having a solid knowledge of what equipment is available will help establish communication quicker during a response,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Christensen, an information systems NCO for the 76th Operational Response Command. “Sometimes the first thing you pull out, it's your favorite thing, doesn't work, you need to know how to use those other pieces of equipment.”

Putting the right people with the right equipment amplifies U.S. Army North’s ability to respond quickly when a natural disaster strikes.

“We integrate every piece of equipment and tie into our joint network operation center to ensure that everything works correctly,” said St. John. “For example, these NCOs can be called upon at any time to go out to places like Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands in preparation for hurricane landfalls.”

Preparation is key for any disaster. With this training, these Soldiers are prepared for the upcoming hurricane season starting June 1, 2021.

“I feel really confident in my abilities to operate the equipment, use it correctly, and keep it going through a response,” said Christensen, a Salt Lake City native.