News: Signal soldiers sharpen skills on satellites
Story by Spc. Rochelle Prince-Krueger
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Approximately 50 soldiers with the 414th Signal Company, Special Troops Battalion, oversee all voice and data support for the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.
To stay on top of their skill set, the 414th often performs signal maintenance on their equipment, and Jan. 13, the Fort Stewart, Ga.-based unit reconfirmed that everything from the computer boards to the individual fiber optic cables of the Joint Network Node and Command Post Node systems were fully functional.
“We use Joint Network Node systems and Command Post Node systems to set up our satellite connections depending on the size of support needed,” said platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Cera Olson. “Our equipment gives us direct connection to the satellites so we are able to have voice and data for all of our systems.”
The thorough signal maintenance helps ensure the team is proficient and can provide the support needed for the sustainers, said Spc. Daniel Sheppard, a multichannel transmission systems operator maintainer with 414th Signal Company.
Sgt. Jason Weynand, a satellite communications systems operator maintainer, agrees.
“With technology moving so fast, there are always new upgrades,” said Weynand. “If you don’t continue to hone your skills and learn the new stuff, you will lose it.”
After plugging in all the wires and facing the satellite in the right direction, the signal specialists performed a communication check to pull an accurate signal.
“The satellites are thousands of miles above the earth,” said Weynand. “With any sort of deviation, even just two degrees, we could be hitting the wrong satellite. It’s important to maintain proper positioning and signal strength to avoid interference with another station or [blocking communication for a particular] region.”
The 414th Signal Company sets up their JNN and CPN systems regularly to help keep the 3rd Sustainment Brigade mission ready.
“As long as everything works we [signal professionals] go unnoticed,” said Weynand, “but the minute someone can’t communicate, the spotlight is on us to fix the problem.”