VICENZA, Italy (January 8, 2013) -- Nine Signal Soldiers now have the expertise necessary to tackle the significant endeavor of securing network systems thanks to the epoxy training provided by 6981st Civilian Support Group (CSG).

5th Signal Command's, 6981st CSG traveled from Mannheim, Germany, to Caserma Ederle, Italy, to conduct epoxy training to Holocom Protective Distribution Systems (PDS) Dec. 11-12, 2012, for nine Signal Soldiers from 509th Signal Battalion, 173D Airborne Brigade Combat Team, and U.S. Army Africa.

PDS access points are located in various buildings on Caserma Ederle and provide users with access to the data network. Epoxy is a high grade and high strength adhesive resin used in a variety of applications to include aircraft and vehicle construction. The training was designed to provide Signal Soldiers with the technical expertise to physically secure the network from tampering or other malicious activity by sealing seams and joints to PDS access points and hardened carriers.

6981st CSG trainers provided all training materials and safety equipment to the Soldiers for the hands on training. They placed an emphasis on safety and attention to detail in order to ensure Department of Defense and U.S. Army Europe physical security standards are met. Soldiers were provided with full oversight and immediate feedback by the trainers on their epoxy applications helping them meet the standard.

Command Sgt. Maj. Javier Abad, 509th Signal Battalion said, "We will certainly keep the 6981st CSG subject matter experts on tap and continue to seek off-the-shelf training and certifications for all Soldiers in Vicenza."

Sgt. James McLelland, assigned to 509th Signal Battalion said, "The training was very productive and rewarding, especially the hands-on portion of the practical application and real-world scenarios."

"This training streamlined the Holocom Protective Distribution System (PDS) training and certification for Signal Soldiers in the 173D ABCT, USARAF G6 and 509th Signal Battalion, but most importantly it streamlines the 'Department of the Army Inspector General Information Assurance Standard,'" said Abad.

The training provided by 6981st CSG is the first of its kind to Signal Soldiers in U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza. Students left the training ready to share their knowledge and train other technicians on how to epoxy Holocom PDS systems within their own organizations.

Abad said, "Training Soldiers is a force multiplier because their experience will spread to other commands within the Department of Defense."