Sending the Right Signals

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Soldiers of the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion Conduct Communications Training

By Sgt. Paul Evans,103rd Brigade Support Battalion Unit Public Affairs Historian Representative

Soldiers of the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion and 1204th Aviation Support Battalion huddle around a computer at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center on March 5, 2011 during training on the Blue Force Trackersystem. The BFT is a vehicle mounted computer system designed to monitor Troops’ locations while on missions and communicate with other Soldiers. BFT training is an essential part of unit preparedness should the 103rd ever be called upon to serve the Commonwealth.

GREENVILLE, Ky. — The weather rolled in like a lion March 5 at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., but the rain and wind didn’t stop Soldiers assigned to the Kentucky National Guard’s 103rd Brigade Support Battalion from perfecting their communications skills.

With the battalion’s high-speed radio and satellite systems, the Harrodsburg, Danville and Frankfort-based Soldiers refreshed their skills on the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System and Blue Force Trackers, which are both essential to providing coordination between troops during times of disaster and deployments.

“When we are called upon to support and complete a mission, communication will be critical to make sure no one gets left behind,” said Capt. Elizabeth Chamberlain, signal officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 103rd BSB.

Chamberlain said the exercise served as a way to establish signal procedures at each of the units and to train to standard upon those procedures. Also, she said, the exercise allowed Soldiers from each of the three units to work together and establish camaraderie between the units under the battalion.

The Soldiers covered the proper way to set up mobile communications satellites necessary to establish phone, radio and internet connections so that all units can communicate with the headquarters element – which is essential training considering the 103rd support the World Equestrian Games in September 2010 and the Ice Storm of 2009.

A Soldier with the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion explores a computer that is part of the Blue Force Tracker (BFT) system. The BFT is a vehicle mounted computer system designed to monitor Troops’ locations while on missions and communicate with other Soldiers. BFT training is an essential part of unit preparedness should the 103rd ever be called upon to serve the Commonwealth.

“This is a great opportunity for the 103rd to work up on their radio and communication skills with the Soldiers who know the systems best,” said Master Sgt. Jeffery McCrystal, HHC 103rd BSB.

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