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    Strengthening communication networks in Romania

    Strengthening communication networks at the Joint National Training Center

    Photo By NaSwana Moon | Staff Sgt. Blihar checks a radio at the Joint Operations Center, Cincu, Romania....... read more read more



    Story by NaSwana Moon 

    926th Engineer Brigade

    CINCU, Romania -- Staff Sgt. James Blihar of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 151st Signal Battalion, 228th Signal Brigade, located in Spartanburg, SC, has served in the Army National Guard for 22 years and plans to serve until he retires. He works as a Switch Operator, running tactical communication for the Joint Operations Center at Joint National Training Center, Cincu, Romania. He presently serves while on a three-week rotation as a participant in Operation Resolute Castle 17, a multi-national NATO engineering exercise, August 4, 2017.

    Blihar described his tasks as a Switch Operator as “making sure the JOC/Support Staff has phone service, being able to call out, and making sure they can get on the internet and be able to access their email and necessary websites to do their daily jobs.”

    He has gained experience as a Switch Operator on 3 deployments to Camps Virginia and Arifjan in Kuwait and Dhahran in Saudi Arabia. “My Camp Virginia deployment was my ‘welcome to the Guard.’ I showed up on February 3rd and got orders to mobilize on the 10th.”

    This is Blihar’s second rotation to Cincu this year. “I came back because I knew the help would be needed. I have a lot of experience being deployed to in-theater operations and running the equipment from both civilian and military side.” In balancing this with his civilian job, he said,
    “Fortunately, my civilian employer is very lenient when it comes to military leave.”

    He has worked for Windstream Communication for 17 years. He says that his civilian and military work are basically the same, though his job at Windstream is on a much larger scale. “I monitor and maintain a larger switching network of voice switches. Here I work on 1 switch, civilian side I work on about 130.”

    Blihar has been happily married for 18 years and has 3 daughters. His family supports him in his career and are one of the driving forces for him to continue his military service. Another is his favorite verse in the Bible: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

    Resolute Castle particularly focuses on engineer skillsets, deploying active Navy, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard engineer units to work alongside the Romanian 10th Engineer Brigade and the U.K. Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers on training infrastructure at the Joint National Training Center in Cincu, Romania. Additionally, Resolute Castle has overseen engineering operations in Poland conducted by the 15th Engineer Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade.

    The mission supports Operation Atlantic Resolve through developing training infrastructure in eastern Europe, creating interoperability among NATO forces, and enhancing stability and resolve among Allied nations.



    Date Taken: 08.04.2017
    Date Posted: 08.06.2017 07:23
    Story ID: 243913
    Location: CINCU, RO
    Hometown: CHARLESTON, SC, US
    Hometown: GREENVILLE, SC, US
    Hometown: SPARTANBURG, SC, US
    Hometown: SUMMERVILLE, SC, US

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