Local

February 22, 2013

704th MI Brigade trains in Utah mountains

Members of a Mobile Multifunctional Signals Intelligence Team for the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade participate in a field training exercise in the mountains of Utah. Preparing for deployment to Afghanistan, the Soldiers trained for several weeks at Camp Williams, a training site located 25 miles south of Salt Lake City and operated by the Utah National Guard. The camp offers specialized training environments such as desert, winter and mountain training as well as an Afghan

DRAPER, Utah — In preparation for an upcoming deployment, Soldiers of Company A, 742nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 704th Military Intelligence Brigade, traveled to Camp Williams for several weeks of training in the mountains of Utah.

The Soldiers are members of the Mobile Multifunctional Signals Intelligence Team, and will deploy to Afghanistan to support tactical units to provide mission critical intelligence.

“This is where SIGINT meets tactical forces,” said Capt. Jessamyn Liu, commander, Company A. “This team brings specialized SIGINT skills in to support ground forces. They act as a force multiplier.”

Training focused on the Low Level Voice Intercept used to provide early warnings against possible enemy forces.

“The MMST Soldiers are carrying not only everything the ground troops carry, but they are also carrying their own specialized equipment,” Liu said. “Their rucksacks can weigh up to 90 pounds while they’re out there climbing mountains.”

Liu traveled to Camp Williams to observe her Soldiers in their training, which consisted of classroom time followed by hands-on training. The team of 31 Soldiers, along with some from the 743rd MI Battalion, split into groups and worked with members of the Utah National Guard, who acted as the opposing force during real-life scenarios.

Having grown up in Utah, Spc. Megan Sten, a signal collector/analyst with Company A, knew how challenging it would be to train in the higher altitude.

“I’ve always been an active, athletic person and I like the more tactical side of my job, so this was fun for me,” she said. “I did acclimate faster than the others because I grew up in the area.”

Though mostly focused on learning the new equipment, Sten also had the opportunity to see her family who lives nearby.

Liu said the Soldiers trained not only on their equipment, but also in the operating environment. The terrain and elevation in the Utah training environment mirrors the environment the Soldiers will face in Afghanistan.

Camp Williams, a training site located 25 miles south of Salt Lake City and operated by the Utah National Guard, offers specialized training environments such as desert, winter and mountain training as well as an Afghan village to simulate the experiences Soldiers will have downrange.

Spc. Albert Hatem, a signals intelligence analyst with Company A, said the elevation was tough, but he acclimated quickly

“I’m not built to be behind a desk,” he said. “I volunteered for this deployment to experience the more tactical side of my job.”

This will be the first deployment for both Sten and Hatem.

“It’s a great opportunity, even the training alone is,” Hatem said. “Very few Soldiers get to do this. It really sets us aside. It kind of makes us an elite group.”

Sten said the training was tough and she enjoyed the opportunity for more in-depth learning on the equipment. Both Soldiers said they were given an overview of the equipment back at Fort Meade, Md., but the hands-on experience is even more important.

“It was more like the environment in Afghanistan, so it was better training than just walking around Fort Meade with a rucksack,” Sten said. “It’s a lot different when you throw in the mountains, altitude and snow. It was exciting and a good experience.”

An additional challenge was the freezing temperatures. During the two-week field portion of the training, temperatures fell below zero every day. One day, temperatures plunged to 13 degrees below zero.

The Soldiers were supposed to camp out for the entire two weeks, but because of the cold they were brought in each night. They stayed warm while climbing, but got cold quickly when they stopped moving.

Periodically, the group took turns taking a break to change into dry tops and socks to preserve body heat. They also slid into their sleeping bags during breaks.

“When your ruck weighs 80 to 90 pounds and you add 15 inches of snow and high altitudes, a hill that would normally take 30 minutes to climb takes an hour,” Hatem said. “But training in the worst of conditions can give us the upper hand.”

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy photo by United Kingdom Ministry of Defense

Army researchers develop pocket-sized aerial surveillance device

Courtesy photo by United Kingdom Ministry of Defense A British Soldier holds a Prox Dynamics’ PD-100 Black Hornet, a palm-sized miniature helicopter weighing only 16 grams. Researchers with the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Resear...
 
 

Active duty Service members must change Roth TSP contributions

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Active duty members of the Army, Air Force or Navy making dollar-amount Roth contributions to a Thrift Savings Plan account should know that these deductions will stop on Jan. 31, unless action is taken. “The Roth [Thrift Savings Plan] contributions are going from a dollar figure to a percentage of pay,” said...
 
 

THANKSGIVING DAY SAFETY MESSAGE

Thanksgiving is a day set aside to pause, reflect and give thanks for the gifts of peace, freedom and opportunity we share as Americans. Holiday weekends provide a well-earned respite from work and an opportunity for travel to visit Family and friends. However, increased travel means increased exposure to the hazards associated with heavy holiday...
 

 
Defense Commissary Agency

Commissary Value Brand returns for more savings

Defense Commissary Agency Starting in December, the Fort Huachuca Commissary will add Commissary Value Brands to its shelves. FORT LEE, Va. – In response to growing patron demand for products comparable to the low-cost privat...
 
 

FH visitors, Civilian workers can dine at Exchange facilities

At military installations across the globe, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service provides a taste of home to Soldiers, Airmen and their Families. While rules governing who can buy merchandise at exchanges often apply to a select few, anyone can dine in exchange restaurants or pick up grab-and-go fare from Express locations. The Fort...
 
 

Chapel serves up community generosity

From left, Staff Sgt. Daniel Carnaghi, 62nd Army Band; Chaplain (Lt. Col.-P) Kim Norwood, senior Garrison chaplain; his wife, Cindy Norwood; Jo Moore, Outreach Ministries coordinator; and Spc. Benjamin Sepulveda, Main Post Chapel chaplain’s assistant, prepare to distribute turkeys to Fort Huachuca Families in need Thursday at the Main Post Chapel. Thanks to generous donations...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin