News: Cable Dawgs: making more out of a move
Story by Staff Sgt. Luke Koladish
Soldiers from C Company, Special Troops Battalion and 50th Signal Battalion had a break from their normal duties on Victory Base Complex to work alongside and develop relationships with soldiers from the Iraqi Ground Forces Command Headquarters communications platoon.
The 'cable dawgs', a slang term for cable systems installers and maintainers, were tasked to assist in moving the Combined Partnership Center and IGFC Joint Operations Center, currently located near the Al Faw Palace, to the first floor of a larger building closer to Camp Iraqi Heroes.
"The consolidation allows the staff to better coordinate and helps eliminate the liaisons, or middlemen, between the IGFC JOC and CPOC with those at Camp Iraqi Heroes, reducing the chances of miscommunication," Lt. Col. Julie Rhen, Carlisle, Pa., C6, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, said.
In addition, the larger work space increases the capabilities of the expanding CPOC and the growing partnership between U.S. forces and the Iraqi army.
Because the IGFC is a fully operational headquarters, producing order for 10 divisions throughout Iraq, the key is not to lose operational control while conducting the move, especially with the upcoming elections, said Lt. Col. Walter S. Olenick, IGFC Military Transition Team G6 advisor.
The wire dawgs were then called in to help provide a seamless transition.
"Every opportunity that U.S. forces have, we partner with the Iraqis. So we asked ourselves, how can we make this more than a move and created a training opportunity," Olenick, a resident of Chesapeake, Va., said.
Their mission was to advise and assist Soldiers from the Iraqi army with the installation of data and voice networks.
Sgt. 1st Class Clifford T. Martin II, C Company, STB, said a big challenge they faced was the language barrier. Most of his soldiers are on their first deployment and had never worked with or around Iraqi soldiers.
Approximately 12 Iraqi soldiers from IGFC G-6 and the IGFC Headquarters communication platoon were tasked to aide in the move.
"With the CPOC, we provided most of the wiring and setup and had to make adjustments. We wanted to establish this right the first time, everything down to the color of the wiring. We have green and red, the IGFC will be using a different color for the Iraqi defense and intelligence networks," Olenick said.
"Once we had everything together it went really smooth, we had the JOC wired up in about three hours," said Spc. David Walden, Airway Heights, Wash., C Company, STB.
Each group was composed of one U.S. Soldier with four to five Iraqi soldiers. The U.S. Soldiers said some of the Iraqis demonstrated knowledge of working with cables while others learned the process through hands on training.
"It was nice to see the Soldiers interacting with them and trying to teach and also learn from them," Martin said.
While working together, Soldiers from both countries traded patches and stories about their families.
"I tried to get to know them as best I could," Spc. Jose M. Escuin, C Company, STB, said. "Family was a big thing. One dude showed me a picture of his girlfriend, told me he wanted to have one boy and one girl."
Martin said one of the most interesting things he learned was that camaraderie between Soldiers, no matter the service, is the same. They all want to help there buddy out and it's all about team work.