News: Signal Soldiers remain Lightning ready
Story by Sgt. Jeff Daniel
FORT MCCOY, Wis. – From the moment Congress authorized a regular Signal Corps in the U.S. Army on March 3, 1863, signal capabilities continue to be a major component in today's Army.
The days of the “wig-wag” communication system, as well as flag and torch signaling may be long gone, but the need for constant communication throughout the military has not.
This fact was made even more prevalent for the Soldiers of the 335th Signal Command (Theater) who have been hard at work during this year’s Red Dragon training event at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. Army reserve units from across the U.S. joined forces to assess a unit’s capabilities through chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) training.
As one of Army’s four vital theater signal commands, Soldiers of the 335th uphold their motto “Ready Lighting."
“This training has been some of the best training I’ve ever had, especially on the military sector,” said Pvt. Deyanna Clark, an information technology specialist, 335th SC (T). “Coming here, and getting hands on training from people who have done this for years and have been deployed has been very exciting, especially for me because I do I.T. in the civilian sector. It’s been very educational.”
Apart from learning how to manage networks, the Soldiers also learned how to deal with the ever-changing Wisconsin weather. Monday, Soldiers found themselves trying to maintain equipment through heavy, early morning thunderstorms.
“We can run on both analog and digital signals, whereas a lot of the other equipment is just digital,” said Pfc. James Boykin, radio operator and maintainer, Charlie Company 324th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 335th SC. “It’s just like your cable or satellite at home, it might get fuzzy, but it still works.”
Although the Soldiers faced many challenges, overall, Boykin said he enjoyed the learning experience.
“It’s a nice change from civilian duty,” Boykin said. “You actually learn something and it counts. I like to be a part of something that matters as well as help people.”
Since its inception, the Signal Corps has been known for making a difference in communication. This includes employing the use of telephones and photography in combat zones as well as introducing the first wireless telegraph in the western hemisphere.
“We are the backbone of this operation,” said Clark. “Without the things that we do, without our intellect and our input, none of this would be working at all. We would still have people in here of course, but they wouldn’t have any computers and connectivity.”
According to Clark, training of this caliber is important for every Signal Soldier. She believes that when Soldiers see the results of what they have been training for, it is a very gratifying feeling.
“For me personally, you get a lot of pride,” said Clark. “It makes me feel really good. Especially when we get that pat on the back that we really deserve.”
Even though the evolution of signal is ongoing, one thing remains the same, the Signal Corps continues to make a mark in military history.