By Spc. Emily Knitter, 1HBCT Public AffairsAugust 19, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga., Aug. 19, 2011 -- Soldiers from across 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, spent two weeks in the field for a command post exercise, setting up a brigade-wide network to ensure communication systems can talk to each other and then conducting operations such as retrieving higher commands orders, making staff products and building graphics.
The exercise, held during the first two weeks in August, was a way for the brigade to update their systems after returning from their most recent deployment.
"A lot of times when a unit is deployed, they are doing stability operations, which means they are hunkered down in one place," explained Ken Stewart, a senior systems analyst for Command Post Staff Integration Team, Computer Science Corporation. "But, when the unit comes back and they go to the combat training centers, they are required to conduct full-spectrum operations. This gives them an opportunity to update their standard operating procedures and prepare for [that]."
Stewart, who retired after 31 years in the military, knows the intricacies of establishing brigade level operations from experience while wearing the uniform and as a civilian assisting the servicemembers.
"When you have the uniform on you are more in a delegative mode, giving guidance and direction," Stewart explained. "When you are a civilian, you have to, more or less, go with how the unit wants to do things. We provide a lot of input, suggestions and recommendations. But, ultimately, it's what the commander and his staff want to go with.
"I have seen nothing but people working in this unit," he said. "There is a lot of hard work going in. Establishing a brigade-sized command post takes a lot of coordination from the seniors to the privates."
During the exercise, classes were held to educate Soldiers on equipment they may need to operate during future deployments, like the One System Remote Video Terminal. The OSRVT records video from cameras attached to Unmanned Aerial Surveillance, or UAS, planes and transmits the video footage back to tactical operation centers where analysts can then interpret the footage to assist missions that could be currently operating on ground level.
"From the time the aircraft sees the video, to the time the OSRVT sees it and puts it on your screen is two tenths of a second," explained Staff Sgt. James Smith, the UAS maintenance and quality control noncommissioned officer in charge from A Co., 1-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion. "As soon as that guy puts that cigarette butt down you want to shoot, he's already shot. "
Training on and learning these systems now gives Soldiers a chance to become familiar with them prior to a deployment.
"If I got deployed and they said I had to learn this, I'd be so overwhelmed because I've already got everything else happening plus all the training," said Pfc.Keith Walker II, a cannon crewmember with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment. "Now if I make a mistake, nobody is going to get hurt. I think its great we actually got the time to come out here and have somebody who knows what they're doing and can show us properly."