FORT HOOD, Texas--Communication is essential to the basic every day operations and it is the key to every successful mission in the Army. Like all others functional skill-sets in the Army, communication is a skill that requires constant training, upgrades and reevaluation.

The Soldiers with the 324th Network Support Company, 41st Fires Brigade participated in a mission readiness exercise providing communication support between the 17th Fires
Brigade located at Fort Lewis, Wash. and the Rail Gunners on Fort Hood, Dec. 5-15.

The Phoenix Soldiers trained up on, established connectivity and monitored C4 systems during the exercise. The C4 systems are vital computer systems and components used in establishing a connection between the two units.

"It is always important to train," Capt. Eric Robertson, the commander for the 324th NSC. "As signal Soldiers, our main training events occur when we establish connectivity and setup our equipment. These training events provide repetition and develop proficiency within our specialties".

The main objective for the Phoenix Soldiers was to establish a communication connection between the two fires brigade through the use of a Joint Network Node and the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems.

"It's important to have your communication setup quickly and correctly, especially in a fires brigade," said Cpl. Eric Cook, a nodal network systems operator maintainer, 324th NSC, 41st Fires Bde. "If your communication is down, then you can't send out a fire mission."

The 324th NSC Soldiers successfully established a satellite link allowing the Rail Gunner Soldiers and Soldiers with the 17th Fires Bde. to communicate using the Command Post of the Future, AFATDS, as well as using classified and unclassified internet lines.

"We have two battalions running fires mission in a tactical training environment right now," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kenn Jones, a network technician for the 41st Fires Bde. "Our training is essential to the success of the brigade. If we couldn't do our job, then our artillery counterparts won't be able to conduct their missions. We have to stay proficient on current systems and new communication equipment."

Multiple Phoenix Soldiers were able to rotate in and out of the exercise, helping to maintain communication between both fires brigade.