Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

August 12, 2014 at 9:25am

3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team rolls into the future of battlefield communication

Cpl. Jesse Croswell, with 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, sets up new communication equipment in a Stryker combat vehicle July 29 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Sgt. James J. Bunn

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The 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division are about to get even more maneuverable on the battlefield.

This summer the brigade is upgrading their communications equipment to the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Increment 2, a new satellite communication system that enhances a commander's ability to exercise mission command.

The upgraded equipment makes 3-2 SBCT a more adaptive and ready force for future missions around the world.  The new system helps the unit meet the chief of staff of the Army's vision of a globally responsive and modern force.

The system uses satellites and antennas on a mobile platform to provide units with the ability to communicate anywhere on a battlefield. Before the upgrade, soldiers relied on stationary equipment or hand radios to communicate. With the improved technology commanders have better situational awareness and real-time information in any environment. The equipment also provides a stronger network signal than before and encrypts all data it transmits to ensure secure communications.  

"This system introduces mobile satellite communications to units and will give battlefield commanders better mission capabilities," said Richard McAlpin a warfighter information network instructor. "Instead of radio to radio communication commanders can pick up a phone and call back to their headquarters,"

To use the equipment effectively on the battlefield, soldiers must first to learn how the system works. Communications specialists in the brigade are participating in a 10-week class learning how to operate and set up the new system.

Soldiers in 3-2 SBCT are not used to seeing or using equipment as advanced as this, said Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Martin, brigade communications chief. The older communications platform is similar but not as complex and does not have as many capabilities.

"I want to learn everything I can during this training," said Sgt. Eric White, a radio operator with 3-2 SBCT. "I've never worked on any of this kind of equipment before."

The brigade plans to conduct several exercises, in addition to the current classes, to ensure the equipment is successfully implemented and functional.

 "We are very excited about the opportunity to put new technology into operation," said  Martin. "Our task is to know and make it work to the way it supposed to."

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