By Spc. Ida Tate, 7th Theater Tactical Signal BrigadeNovember 1, 2010
HOHENFELS, Germany -- Training to provide support in a tactical environment is the primary focus for the Soldiers of 44th Expeditionary Battalion during their 30 day field exercise from October 1 through October 29 at Camp Albertshof. Alpha and Charlie Company, 44th ESB train in preparation to replace Soldiers currently serving in the theater of Afghanistan.
"Providing communication in live convoys for the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will have a major impact on the Soldiers' ability to interact with the warfighters and provide an opportunity to build working relationships," said Capt. Odene C. Brathwaite, Alpha Co., commander, 44th ESB. For many Soldiers working in support of a war for the first time can be tasking. The battalion wants to give Soldiers a realistic experience in providing communication for convoys in a tactical environment, said Brathwaite.
"In the inauguration of the fall season, Soldiers, adorned in field jackets and gloves, monitor the network, report outages, review trouble shooting procedures, and collect information on communication delays, for the 170th," said Staff. Sgt. Casey W. Bonner, Alpha Co., 44th ESB.
1st Lt. James E. Palidar, Alpha Co., 44th ESB, explained that the installation and maintenance of Satellite Transportable Terminals, Line-of-Sight Radios, and Antenna Communications System communication relays are all part of the mission to institute communication to convoys on the battlefield.
"Coordinating and interacting with Soldiers in live convoys outside the battalion is a good challenge, and a much needed learning curve," said Palidar.
"Signal Soldiers encounter the same dangers in combat when supporting tactical maneuver battalions during convoys. Battle drills incorporating improvised explosive device and small arms fire familiarize Soldiers so they won't be caught off-guard when reacting to a situation," explained Brathwaite.
"The Soldiers will also be competent on equipment by cross training in areas outside their primary job skill and establishing live scenario battle drills," said Major Jared W. Snawder, Alpha Co., 44th ESB.
Col. John K. Arnold, commander, 7th Signal Brigade, talked with the Soldiers in training about their aspirations during their slated deployment. Arnold encouraged Soldiers to excel in military and civilian education during deployed free time, "This training and expertise will help all Soldiers, leaders and subordinates."