Unit HomeNewsNews Article Display
Headquarters Marine Corps

 

Headquarters Marine Corps

Can you hear me now? ;40th Signal Bn. keeps CJTF-HOA communications up and running;

By Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald | | February 25, 2003

SHARE
Since it was constituted in 1942, the Army's 40th Signal Battalion has played an integral role in numerous military operations. Keeping up that tradition for Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa are the soldiers of A Company, 40th Signal Bn. from Fort Huachuca, Ariz.To help the task force detect, disrupt and defeat transnational terrorist cells in the Horn of Africa region, the company is equipped with state-of-the-art communications equipment and soldiers with the know-how to operate and maintain that equipment. "Our primary responsibility is to provide the commander the means to communicate with the people he needs in order to get the mission done. The second mission is to improve the morale of the troops by letting them talk to their families back home," said Capt. Brent O. Skinner, A Co. commander. "We do that by providing things like telephone connections, Internet and video teleconferencing." Since August, the "Gators" of A Co. have installed and maintained nearly 200 telephones and 750 computers throughout the camp.Skinner, of Staten Island, N.Y., added, "Considering the limited amount of soldiers I have out here, the amount of work they have done so far is tremendous."In order to provide quality service to the troops here, the company is divided into separate sections: data to run the servers; switch to maintain the telephones; tactical satellite; and cable and nodal operations to provide troubleshooting.To prepare for deployment, the soldiers train in the field three months of the year. The mission at home and the mission during a deployment are basically the same -- to afford top-notch communication to troops.The assignment to CJTF-HOA is providing these soldiers with experience in real-world operation with members from all armed services. Spc. Jose Garcia, a cable installer from Atlanta, said, "Back in Arizona, we inventory gear and get ready for missions. Now we're out here in Djibouti, Africa doing our job for real."As a cable installer, or "cabledawg," Garcia is responsible for anything telephone-related.He said, "We run phone lines to connect the camp, and we do troubleshooting pretty much everyday for people who need our help."The biggest challenge he said he's faced during this deployment has been working alongside the different services."The Marines, the Air Force and the Army all have their own ways of doing communications," explained Garcia. "It's sometimes hard trying to get things accomplished, but we talk to one another so we can all do things the same way."According to Skinner, his company has been able to develop good, working relationships with each service."It's interesting learning from the other branches and seeing how they do certain things," said Skinner."When we get deployed, we don't have to rely on anyone for equipment. We are completely self-sufficient," explained Skinner. "We have soldiers who do maintenance, NBC training (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) and supply."Everyone has come together during this deployment. As usual, safety has been our number one concern. One thing I always try to drill in my soldiers' heads is that the mission is not over until everyone is home safe."
SHARE