FORT HOOD, TEXAS (Aug. 24, 2010) - The construction of a brigade headquarters requires the expertise of Soldiers with a multitude of skills. Mechanics maintain the generators and vehicles, force protection crews ensure security measures are taken and all Soldiers aid in raising a mobile Tactical Operations Center. A TOC is not complete, however, until it has the ability to communicate with other units around the world.

Soldiers with the communications section of the 7th Sustainment Brigade assisted in the construction of the brigade TOC at Fort Hood, Texas Aug. 1 though 8.

Several of the Soldiers came with the brigade's torch party to begin establishing the TOC and set up communications. Three signal system support specialists, Spc. Terrence Manglona, Spc. Thomas Foster and Pvt. 1st Class Karl Karason, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, 7th Sus. Bde. came to the training area eight days before the main body of personnel to prepare the site. The communication section's officers coordinated with Fort Hood communications specialists to lay the ground work.

"We called several weeks ahead to start getting our area prepared for the TOC," said Chief Warrant Officer Devon Simpson, a signal systems technician with HHC, STB, 7th Sus. Bde. "The three Soldiers we sent with the advanced party did the rest."

When the "Resolute" brigade's main body arrived, communications capability was already at 80 percent. The troops laid the necessary cable to connect the TOC, set up the switch system to allow all computers to connect to the brigade's network, prepared the TOC's audio and visual systems and established the Army Battle Command Systems for the brigade staff. Finally, the team worked with local field service representatives to learn the fundamentals of establishing new kinds of networks.

"When I sent these Soldiers out here I gave them a basic plan of action and priority list, they did the rest," said Staff Sgt. Robert Phelps, the brigade's communications Noncommissioned Officer in Charge. "They also helped set up the tents for the TOC, assisted in establishing the area, and accomplished their commo mission in 72-hours. That is really impressive and I am very proud of the work they did."

As the brigade settles into a battle rhythm the work pace for the signal Soldiers will not slow down. They continue to run a 'help desk' as well as provide 24-hour technical support to ensure the computers remain operational and the network stays up. These hardworking Soldiers troubleshoot each problem as it arises.

"These Soldiers are always watching for ways to improve the network and solve problems that come up in the TOC," said Phelps. "They do so much for the brigade; they are the ones that keep us communicating."


Photos and story by Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett, 7th Sustainment Brigade public affairs.
For queries, contact 7th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs at: 757-878-5112 ext. 268.
For high-resolution photos and stories by the 7th Sustainment Brigade, please contact the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System by calling (678) 421-6612 or access them online at