By Pfc. Dan Rangel, 27th Public Affairs DetachmentDecember 21, 2010
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Third Army's Assault Command Post communications team conducted training to provide communications anywhere in its Area of Responsibility at Camp Arifjan Dec. 18.
As part of the ACP's early-entry force, Third Army's 151 Expeditionary Signal Battalion, SNAP (SIPPR NIPPR Access Point) team is charged with providing both secure and unclassified communications to the force and the commanding general.
"[Assembling the satellite system] is something we do at least once a week," said Sgt. Russell Wilbanks, one of the SNAP team noncommissioned officers-in-charge from Joanna, S.C.
"The SNAP system is a terminal set, which is 100 percent portable. It can travel anywhere, is hand-carried, and provides communications service for the military," Wilbanks said. "It will provide computer access and phone access anywhere in the world."
The SNAP team is trained to quickly deploy and is ready to fight tonight to ensure Warfighters have the communications they need to conduct operations.
"We have a roll-out time when we receive notification. We have 72 hours to gather our equipment, intel and personal gear. Then we get our equipment loaded onto a C-17 and fly out," Wilbanks said.
"We're setting up SIPPR and NIPPR (the Army's secure and unsecure internet protocols), voice data, video teleconferencing, Voiceover Internet Protocol phones, Army battle-command systems, E-mail, [Microsoft] SharePoint and things of that nature," said Chief Warrant Officer Shannon Johnson, the SNAP team officer-in-charge from Oklahoma City.
Once the SNAP team has boots on the ground, they begin operations by assembling a satellite dish used to point to a regional hub node in space, Johnson said.
"[From the satellite dish to the ACP tent] we run the cable to the switch. From the switch we run cable to a workstation where staff can get NIPPR and SIPPR," she said.
To refine the installation process the SNAP team sets up and tears down the system over and over again.
"We're perfecting our battle drills," Johnson said. "It usually takes us between 20 and 30 minutes to set things up and 'go hot'."
To set up the 16-port switch at these speeds takes a coordinated team effort and team leaders are confident in their Soldiers.
"I can rely on these guys to do what they need to do and do it in a timely manner," said Sgt. Andrew Dicken, one of the SNAP team noncommissioned officers-in-charge from Springfield, Mass.
Under Dicken's leadership, the team is prepared to quickly deploy, ready for combat.
"We've been trained to use every piece of the SNAP terminal in combat," said Pfc. Paul Thomas, a SNAP team operator from Williamston, S.C.
Thomas expressed his confidence in his team and gave a warning to any outside force that would try to challenge them on the battlefield.
"It would be easier for them to just throw the towel in now and give up, because we sure won't," Thomas said.