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    Brigade field training exercise enhances Signal Soldiers’ readiness

    Brigade field training exercise enhances Signal Soldiers’ readiness

    Photo By William King | U.S. Army 1st Lt. Kentrel Harris, an S-3 battle captain assigned to 2d Theater Signal...... read more read more



    Story by William King 

    2d Theater Signal Brigade

    GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – U.S. Soldiers assigned to 2d Theater Signal Brigade are enhancing their training and readiness during a field training exercise March 11-27, 2019, in Grafenwoehr.

    The goal of the FTX is to validate the brigade’s ability to establish and deploy a forward mission command element focused on tactical communications requirements, while allowing the brigade main in Wiesbaden to continue its role supporting the strategic network.

    U.S. Army Col. Neil Khatod, commander of 2d Theater Signal Brigade, explained that as the Army’s only theater signal brigade, 2d Theater Signal Brigade faces unique challenges in its mission to support both strategic and tactical networks and communications in Europe and Africa.

    “We need to be prepared to enable the theater to move from steady-state operations into contingency operations,” Khatod said. “We’ve got to think differently and react differently to deter aggression or be prepared to enable the warfighter.”

    U.S. Army Lt. Col. Greg Orrell, the S-3 chief of operations assigned to 2d Theater Signal Brigade, said the brigade had not deployed a tactical command post for at least six years. He explained that the FTX was an opportunity for learning, to validate new procedures, and to delineate tasks between the TAC and the brigade main in Wiesbaden.

    “We’re working on enhancing our staff processes, battle tracking, network operations, integration with higher headquarters, as well as providing orders and guidance to our battalions,” Orrell said.

    Other key training events during the FTX include a confidence course, leadership development forum, and a competition for the best Secure Internet Protocol Router/Non-secure Internet Protocol Router (SIPR/NIPR) Access Point, or SNAP, team in the brigade.

    The four strategic signal battalions in the brigade were issued SNAPs about six months ago and Soldiers have been training on their use since then. U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Corey Thomas, the S-3 sergeant major assigned to 2d Theater Signal Brigade, said having a tactical communications capability in the strategic battalions makes them more flexible.

    “It enables them to have tactical communications in case they have to go and position themselves in a place other than their (Network Enterprise Center),” Thomas said.

    He said the best SNAP competition increases the Soldiers’ confidence in their equipment and provides an opportunity to learn from and share best practices with the other SNAP teams.

    U.S. Army Sgt. Christian Hicks, a SNAP team leader assigned to the 39th Strategic Signal Battalion, said his team attended a three-week SNAP training course in Grafenwoehr and supported units in the field in Belgium for a month to familiarize themselves with the system before coming to the competition.

    “I think this type of training is very beneficial to us because here we’re able to encounter new problems that we maybe haven’t encountered before, so then we know what to do going forward,” Hicks said.

    The winner of the best SNAP competition was a team from the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion led by U.S. Army Sgt. Jarrett Hoshell, followed by the 39th Strategic Signal Battalion in second place and the 52d Strategic Signal Battalion third.

    “This exercise was all about getting us to a higher level of readiness posture, and one of the ways we can do that in a very fast way is by disseminating the SNAPs to key areas, so it’s really important that you all are proficient in this task,” Khatod told the best SNAP competitors.



    Date Taken: 03.22.2019
    Date Posted: 03.22.2019 14:15
    Story ID: 315395
    Location: GRAFENWOEHR, BY, DE 

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