News: 'Red Leader, This is Blue Leader, Do You Copy?'
HOHENFELS, Germany -- “Mother One, this is Firstborn One. How copy? Over.”
Keeping in touch with people back home has always been a top priority for those in the armed services. The Soldiers deploying to Kosovo as part of Multinational Battle Group East have gone to great lengths to keep close to the ones they love.
In this technologically advanced age, the primary means of communication to friends and family back home is through email, pay phones, and Voice over Internet Protocol.
VoIP (services such as Skype, Vonage and Magic Jack) is a means of using the Internet to transmit voice signals much in the way that email transmits typed messages. Instead of typed data, it’s a voice relay. It is using your computer as a telephone.
“It's convenient because by the time I’m done with my duty day [family back home] are on lunch,” said Spc. Adam Schilling, a crew chief with Company C., 2/147th Aviation Battalion, MNBG East.
“The only downfall is that you need reliable Internet. We will have that in Kosovo,” said Schilling, a New Hampton, Iowa, native.
While, the broadband connection at Camp Albertshof is limited these soldiers will sacrifice dropped calls for a short conversation with a loved one.
“Sometimes you call and speak for maybe two minutes and it cuts off and you dial again, get another two minutes and then it cuts off, but you keep going until you get a full conversation in.” said Sgt. 1st Class Ramon Green, a Cayey, Puerto Rico native, inspector general assistance noncommissioned officer with MNBG East.
“Contacting home is different than it was only a couple years ago,” said Sgt. 1st Class Walter Padilla, medical operations noncommissioned officer for MNBG East “This deployment also gives us better opportunities to call home than others do.”
Throughout his 34-year career in the military, Padilla has been able to see how the advancements in modern technology have benefitted Soldiers and their ability to call back home to their families.
“With [VoIP] there is an instant response, unlike mailing a letter where you have to wait for it to reach your loved ones and then wait for them to respond. This gives a peace of mind to Soldiers and also their loved ones who don’t really know what’s happening,” said Padilla, a Lajas, Puerto Rico native.
VoIP isn’t the only way for deployed Soldiers to reach their families. Some people, like Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ivelisse Ortiz, deputy personnel officer for MNBG East, just use the pay phones and a calling card.
“I’m working hours that when I get off I just want to go straight to my room and take a shower. I keep reminding myself that mentally it’s just a matter of time before we get to Kosovo and I have Internet in my room and will be able to [conduct video conferences] my family back home” said Ortiz, a Gurabo, Puerto Rico native.
“It is good to stay in contact with friends and family back home because it helps maintain the Soldiers’ morale,” said 1st Lt. Ricardo Espinel, a Toa Alta, Puerto Rico native, executive officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 92nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, MNBG East.
Where staying in touch with loved ones while deployed was one of the greatest challenges for former generations of service members, new technologies have made that challenge more manageable.
Messages in bottles, telegrams, smoke signals, carrier pigeons and even regular “snail” mail have been replaced by more efficient and inexpensive ways for families and Soldiers to keep in close contact during a deployment.
Date Posted:06.24.2010 13:55
Location:HOHENFELS, BY, DE
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