News: 35th Signal Brigade trains coast-to-coast during FTX
Story by Capt. Devon Thomas
FORT GORDON, Ga. - The 35th Signal Brigade soldiers continued training to become experts in their field and masters of the fundamentals during a field training exercise from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 at Fort Gordon, Ga., Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and Fort Bragg, N.C.
“The training gives the Brigade the opportunity to test communication systems and connectivity between battalions as the operators maintain proficiency on these systems,” said Jerry W. Vanlue, the deputy S-3 for the brigade. “The training exercise also provides the leader a chance to enhance and perfect their capabilities.”
The 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Michael P. Martel, echoed Vanlue’s statement.
“The exercise allows our communication teams to strengthen their skill set,” said Martel. “It helps prepare our communication teams for future missions.”
Capt. Ernest B. Jones, the B Company, 63rd ESB commander, ensured that his command post node teams executed battle drills and established communication systems. His multichannel transmission and information technology operators cross-trained and took advantage of the exercise to enhance their Blue Force Tracker and FM communication systems skills.
“This training is an excellent way to firm up the fundamentals and the skill set of our soldiers,” said Jones.
According to Spc. Mallory A. Kaleta, a multichannel systems operator assigned to C Company, 63rd ESB, the field environment gave her the optimal time to train her new team member, Pvt. Eric Rodriguez.
“Training in the field is a pretty easy way to teach the new soldiers,” said Kaleta.
Safety of brigade soldiers and equipment is paramount, and weather provided some challenges to the training units. Sgt. 1st Class Samuel P. Moore III, a unit controller during the exercise, was the go-between for the 51st ESB at Joint Base Lewis- McChord and the brigade headquarters. However, when high winds and thunderstorms affected Fort Gordon, he became acted a liaison between range control and the post installation operations center.
“The brigade ensured a plan was in place in case of severe weather and communicated the accountability of personnel to the IOC,” said Moore.
The field environment not only allowed the brigade to execute communication skills, but also allowed maintenance Soldiers to troubleshoot any problems with vehicles and generators. Sgt. 1st Class Ronaldo C. Allen’s team of air conditioning, vehicle and generator mechanics from B Company, 63rd ESB, was dispatched and on call to support training sites throughout Fort Gordon. His mechanics valued the experience.
“The field environment allows us to think outside the box,” Allen said.
Brigade food service specialists received praises for serving “good hot food” during the training exercise.
“We also try to maintain morale and ensure they have a hot breakfast when they wake up and have a hot meal before they go to bed,” said Staff Sgt. Laura I. Weymon, a food service specialist assigned to B Company, 63rd ESB.