CAMP SMITH TRAINING SITE, N.Y. – Forty-six 101st Expeditionary Signal Battalion Soldiers spent Oct. 24 to Nov. 7 ensuring their communications gear will keep Army command posts talking to each other when they deploy to the Middle East in 2023.
The Yonkers-based New York Army National Guard signal battalion will mobilize 344 Soldiers to deploy to Kuwait to support the Army’s Task Force Spartan Shield in August.
Before mobilizing, they had to ensure that the satellite communications equipment and other components of the battalion’s Warrior Information Network-Tactical system were working properly, according to Lt. Col. Paul Mulligan, battalion commander.
Mulligan said the 46 Soldiers who volunteered for the additional annual training spent two weeks identifying component and equipment shortages, updating software systems, ordering parts, and submitting work orders for items they could not fix.
“This event was crucial in identifying equipment issues so we can request resources to fix them,” Mulligan said.
The Soldiers worked on 126 pieces of equipment, including the communications systems, vehicles and generators.
The Warrior Information Network-Tactical system, or WIN-T, is the Army communication system of transmitters, receivers, routers, switches, modems and cables that allows Army units to securely transmit voice, data, text, video and graphic data.
Mulligan said the 101st can deploy 30 teams and equipment to link command posts from the battalion up to the theater level.
Along with making sure the equipment is working, the training also gave Soldiers a chance to learn more about the equipment, said 1st Lt. Manuel Baltazar from the battalion operations staff.
“This training is crucial to increasing our Soldiers’ readiness as operators for their equipment,” said Baltazar, a former enlisted Soldier who is deploying as the battalion plans officer. “They’re doing cross-training on equipment they have never operated before, so it’s helping really increase the unit’s knowledge overall.”
Army Spc. Domingo Perez, a New York City police officer in civilian life, said he appreciated the chance to learn more about the battalion’s systems while troubleshooting them.
Perez, a multichannel transmission systems operator and maintainer, said he was learning a lot about the Phoenix satellite terminals used to communicate over vast areas by digging into the technical manual, or TM.
“The TM is your best friend,” Perez said. “Go into it and learn the Phoenix, learn how to troubleshoot it. It is very productive.”
Pfc. Janaiya Alexander, a wheeled vehicle mechanic in the battalion’s Alpha Company, appreciated the opportunity to work on vehicles for an extended period.
“It’s great to have more than a weekend to work on the trucks and Humvees,“ Alexander said.
Mulligan said the next step for his Soldiers would be installing the parts that were ordered.
That gear will be used for the battalion’s pre-mobilization training and then packaged and shipped to Kuwait.