By Sgt. Edward A. Garibay
16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
EL PASO, Texas - For the past several weeks, soldiers from the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, have been using a combat smart phone called the Nett Warrior at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
The system, worn on the chest and flipped down, provides Soldiers in combat with real-time locations of friendly forces, and gives them the ability to communicate with other troops as well as mark tactical information on a digital map for others to see.
“It’s like your own personal GPS,” said Sgt. Matthew A. Guerrant, a squad leader in 2nd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 35th Cavalry Regiment, 2-1 AD. “You’ll never get lost, you’ll always know where you’re at, you’ll always know what’s going on around you, and you’ll always be able to post events right away.”
“There’s nothing else really like this that soldiers have been using, to my knowledge,” said 1st Lt. Travis P. Kyle, infantry platoon leader for 2nd Plt.
The image seen by those using the Nett Warrior is similar to real-time tactical maps seen in first-person shooter video games that display battlefield terrain, friendly locations and objective points, said Spc. Julio Espinoza, radio transmitter operator also with 2nd Plt.
“I can see the similarities,” said Espinoza, comparing the Nett Warrior to technology seen in video games.
The system is not yet in main circulation for soldiers, but is being assessed by the Army for possible fielding in the future through the Network Integration Evaluation 12.2.
The NIE occurs semi-annually, and places equipment that is under consideration by the Army in the harshest of battlefield conditions.
“This environment will break equipment that is not up to the task,” said Col. Daniel Pinnell, commander of 2-1 AD. “The heat, the dust and the constant abuse in the hands of Soldiers will separate the weak from the strong very quickly.”
So far though, the concept of a combat smart phone is definitely one worth investigating, said Kyle.
“It’s definitely something that I think at some point will be very useful in the soldier’s hands,” he added.