Army

May 24, 2012

Operation Renegade Storm hones Signal Soldiers’ skills

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Story and photos by Sgt. Kelvin Ringold
11th Signal Brigade Public Affairs Office

Capt. Brian Boundy, 11th Tactical Theater Signal Brigade, watches closely as he evaluates the performance of Soldiers from the 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion. As part of the evaluation team, Boundy is responsible for ensuring the Soldiers are proficient in the tasks needed for them to be successful during next mission.

In the military, a unit can be deployed or called on for support at any given time. Throughout the year, numerous kinds and amounts of training are required and executed by companies, battalions and brigades. Being prepared when duty calls is the number-one mission of any unit in the military.

The 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion just ended a Culminating Training Exercise in the area surrounding the Thunder Mountain Activity Centre here. It began on May 14 and ended yesterday.

Spc. Quinton Brandt and Pvt. Zack Twiss, Company B, 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, pound spikes into the terrain in order to star ground their satellite transportable terminal during the training exercise. Star grounding is a layout technique in which all components connect to the ground at a single point, making a “star” pattern. It is considered one of the most effective and safest ways to ground electrical equipment.

“The plan for this training has been underway since January,” said Lt. Col. Andrew McClelland, battalion commander, 40th ESB. “This has been the first exercise of this magnitude since returning from deployment last June.”

Soldiers from the 11th Tactical Theater Sustainment Brigade here and the 86th Expeditionary Sustainment Battalion and 62nd Expeditionary Sustainment Battalion from Fort Hood, Texas, also took part in the CTE, Operation Renegade Storm.

These Soldiers served as subject matter experts for 40th ESB, and evaluate and validated them on their performance during the exercise. This ensured the 40th has the tools and training necessary to be successful during their next actual mission.

“We have received a lot of good support within the brigade and even from our battalions in Texas,” said McClelland. “Everyone has been eager to assist us, and to help set us up for future success.”

During the exercise, 40th teams were evaluated on how quickly they set-up their operating area, and most importantly, their ability to provide communications support in a timely manner.

“The teams had an hour to set-up their area, said Sgt. John Masropian, an evaluator from the 62nd ESB. They had to set-up and ground their power generation equipment, satellite transportable terminal and single shelter switch.”

Once the power generator trailer leg was set, time started and the teams had to establish operations, deploy the dish and make a call within the time limit, said Masropian.

One of the first teams to get validated was headed by Staff Sgt. John Shedio, Company B, 40th ESB.

Spc. Johnson, a 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Soldier, digs a trench from tent-to-tent. Doing so will enable them to bury the cables used between tents and prevent a tripping hazard.

“I am glad we were the first team in the company to get validated,” he said. “It felt good to know that all the good training we have engaged in helped us accomplish the mission at hand.”

For a signal unit, being able to establish communications support is their number-one mission, and that is why this training held so much importance.

“Once the satellite configurations were verified through this training, the same ones can be used over the course of the next year, said McClelland. “That’s a big plus because we can get in more training without having to spend extra time reconfiguring our systems.”

Many Soldiers have never deployed or been involved in an exercise like this, but that didn’t seem to curb their enthusiasm.

“The Soldiers were excited about putting their training to the test,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Perry Summerville, command sergeant major, 40th ESB. He explained that with testing like this, all their training comes full circle, and they take comfort in the knowledge that they can actually complete the task.

Despite how successful the exercise has been, the Soldiers and leaders of the 40th ESB do not plan on growing complacent.

“The Soldiers have definitely grown from the time we started until now,” said Summerville after training had been underway for a few days.

“The exercise has been going very well,” he said. “There are a lot of experiences that have been learned. We are not at the finish line, but we are close. From here, we will continue to train and improve.”

Members of Company B, 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, use teamwork to set up their satellite transportable terminal during training. Once the legs are secured into the soil, the Soldiers can begin grounding their equipment to receive continued evaluation on their performance.




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