Signal soldiers with 16th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division conduct a communications exercise at Doña Ana Base Camp, New Mexico, Jan. 27 to 31, 2020. Signal soldiers facilitate their units to take over more battle space by communicating across a wider footprint. | Photo by Staff Sgt. Kris Bonet 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division
Signal soldiers with 16th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division conducted a communications exercise at Doña Ana Base Camp, New Mexico, 27 to 31 January.
The purpose of the exercise was to certify crews on new equipment to enable the Brigade to use upper tactical internet communications and conduct re-transmission operations.
C company, “Charlie Rock,” is the 1/1 AD’s signal company. Charlie Rock offers line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight communications support for the Ready First Brigade. Signal soldiers facilitate their units to take over more battle space by communicating across a wider footprint.
The company transitioned from a Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2 to an Increment 1 back in December 2019. WIN-T Inc. 1 provides a high-speed, inter-operable voice and data communications network on the field. They also trained on a new Satellite Transportable Terminal.
“The difference is the Inc. 1 is less mobile than the Inc. 2 but offers the same services with a smaller footprint,” said 2nd Lt. Erik Swanson, platoon leader, and signal officer with Charlie Rock.
Junior enlisted from different signal-related, military occupational specialties had the opportunity to do their jobs in an austere environment as well as cross-train each other on their special skill-sets.
“We constantly create faults and then fix them so we can progress and learn more from the equipment,” said Pfc. Jeremy Fincham, a multi-channel transmission systems operator maintainer. “I really enjoyed the cross-training and learning about the radios.”
“We mainly cross-train with the 25Qs (multi-channel transmission systems operator maintainer) because without the STT we would not have the connection to keep the Joint Network Node-Network running,” said Pfc. Deshawn Esannason, a nodal network systems operator-maintainer.
For Pfc Angel Herrera, a signal support system specialist, this was an opportunity to step into the boots of a noncommissioned officer and mentor his peers.
“My mission was to set up re-transmissions and teach soldiers how to install, maintain and use radios,” said Herrera. “I created faults on the radios inside the Humvees and then they had to find the problem. These soldiers now know how to troubleshoot and solve their own radio problems. I learned how to instruct other soldiers and the additional capabilities of the radios.”
For many of the young Soldiers, this was their first field exercise since basic training. They had the opportunity to conduct convoy operations, night drivers training, self-recovery operations, field repair, and camouflaging and security.