An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Dec. 5, 2017

N.M. National Guard bolstering communications in Puerto Rico

By Spc. Samuel Keenan 65th Press Camp Headquarters

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Soldiers from the New Mexico National Guard set up a VSAT, a very small aperture terminal satellite, in Vieques, Puerto Rico, to give other Guard members stationed there a better communication link between with Joint Task Force Puerto Rico headquarters in San Juan.

Vieques is an island nearly 20 miles off the coast of mainland Puerto Rico that was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Puerto Rico National Guardsmen are on the island to provide security at pieces of critical infrastructure including the school, hospital and fresh-water pumping station.

Prior to the satellite link, the Guard members were limited to cell phone and radio communications.

"Our mission is to establish a VSAT link, said 2nd Lt. Joseph Andahl, platoon leader, 3631st Signal Company, New Mexico National Guard. "This will allow them to get email, get data, access the internal net and allow for voice over internet protocol capabilities so that they can operate."

During disaster recovery operations, effective communication is necessary to coordinate military and civilian assets.

The civilian network that the Soldiers on Vieques were relying on constantly crashed and hadglitches, said Staff Sgt. Ariel Cruz, a noncommissioned officer with the 125th Military Police Battalion, Puerto Rico National Guard.

"The satellite is going to help us keep and maintain better communication," said Cruz.

The VSAT satellite and security operations on Vieques are part of the Army’s continuous efforts to assist Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the island territory.



Related Articles
New York Army National Guard Spc. Stefani DeManincor, a member of the 105th Military Police Company, with Ava, the stray dog she adopted during a deployment to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Virgin Islands dog finds new home with New York MP
By Eric Durr | Dec. 4, 2017
ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands - Lots of Soldiers bring back a deployment souvenir, but New York Army National Guard Spc. Stefanie DeManincor's souvenir from the U.S. Virgin Islands has four legs, a happily wagging tail, and...

Soldiers with the Puerto Rico Army National Guard’s 190th Engineer Battalion work to clear a roadway in Cayey, Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Sept. 30, 2017. Back-to-back hurricanes that caused major destruction in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and along the Gulf Coast region meant a busy hurricane season for Guard members. In total, more 45,000 Guard members from nearly every state, territory and the District of Columbia took part in response efforts in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
National Guard wraps up busy hurricane season
By Tech. Sgt. Erich B. Smith | Dec. 1, 2017
ARLINGTON, Va. – Three back-to-back hurricanes that brought large-scale destruction to the Gulf Coast region, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands kept the National Guard busy during the 2017 hurricane season. Approximately...

Tennessee National Guard Soldiers push a UH-60 Black Hawk into a C-17 aircraft carrier Sept. 13 at Joint Base Berry Field, Nashville, Tenn. The Tennessee National Guard deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands to support disaster relief efforts and provide humanitarian aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Tennessee Guard continues supporting hurricane relief efforts
By Master Sgt. Robin Brown | Nov. 14, 2017
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - As hurricanes ravaged through the southern United States and Caribbean territories this year, the Tennessee National Guard was there. More than 475 Tennessee National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from across...