COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Two Soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army Satellite Operations Brigade, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command participated in exercise Forager 21 in July and August at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam.
1st Sgt. Ryan Dawson and Sgt.1st Class Aaron Mendez, both of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, SATOPS Brigade, provided satellite communication support for the jointforces U.S. Army Pacific exercise designed to test and refine the Army’s ability to flow land power forces into the theater, execute command and control of those forces, and effectively employ them in support of our allies, partners, and national security objectives in the region. This was the first iteration of the exercise and was the primary exercise in support of Defender Pacific 21.
“Being able to participate in an exercise like this - the first of its kind - to support the Multi-Domain Task Force with their satellite operations was an important mission to support the readiness of all the joint forces involved,” Dawson said. “We advised and assisted commanders in all things space.”
Forager 21 involved multiple computer simulated and live exercises that saw both Dawson and Mendez working 14- to 16-hour days, seven days a week, at their work stations.
“We didn’t get to see much of the island,” Mendez said. “We were there to work and focus and represent SMDC and contribute to the planning process as best we could.”
Aside from their day-to-day satellite communications duties, Dawson said he and Mendez supported the 82nd Airborne Division with an exercise and supported an artillery live-fire exercise from an Army watercraft.
“We were there as these artillery Soldiers that we are supporting are taking out simulated enemy warships, and radars. We, as satellite communicators, rarely get to take part in something like that,” Dawson said. “It was a really interesting part of the whole experience.”
Both Soldiers said the exercise felt like a mini deployment. Both have deployed as satellite communicators in the past.
“They were long days,” Mendez said. “But I have a better understanding of how all the operations come into play as a whole now with an exercise of this nature. I get the big picture.”