News: Soldiers learn improved interagency communications
Story by Sgt. Jonathan Thibault
FORT CARSON, Colo. - Communication is one of the most important factors in any emergency situation, which is why 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, signal Soldiers conducted ACU 2000 controller training on Fort Carson, April 23.
The ACU 2000 system joins disparate voice communications systems, allowing them to be flexibly connected together, monitored and controlled over a network, said Kenneth Willey, satellite communications engineer, Joint Task Force Civil Support.
"This provides different agencies the interoperability to communicate with each other even though they use different voice systems," said Willey. "If the radio system uses sound and voice, it can connect it."
The system will help ease the communication problems between civil agencies and military assets during joint operations.
"Our aircrews experienced some difficulty with communicating with ground crews during the Black Forest Fire and Boulder floods," said Master Sgt. Michael Rogers, brigade signal
noncommissioned officer, 4th CAB. "The system will help bridge the communication gap with other civilian emergency agencies that use different radios and frequencies."
The CAB will use the system during its Response Force mission exercise.
"We will predominantly work with civilian first responders and government agencies during the exercise," said Rogers. "The largest difficulty faced through interagency functionality is communicating, because (of) all the different radio systems that are being used. The system will make voice radios of all kinds become compatible and speak a common language, which allows for more free flowing communication."
Some radio operators have never used the ACU 2000 system and find the equipment very useful and look forward to using it on future missions.
"I've been dealing with different radio systems for the last five years," said Sgt. Dorlis Colon, system support systems specialist, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th CAB. "This is the first time I've ever used or seen the ACU 2000. I was involved in both the fires and floods last year. The system makes it easier because you can use the system from the ground, freeing up more aircraft to do the mission, instead of having to do aerial command and control. It is very easy to learn and use."