13th COSCOM uses technology in field exercise

Story by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

The 13th Corps Support Command's field training site was marked with large, dome-shaped tents and generators with thick power cables running in and out, stretching across cold, hard ground and disappearing beneath the tents.

On one side of the field, sleeping quarters were arranged in double rows. In these tents, electrical cords were run, hanging securely from latches on the ceilings and bringing light to the shelters.

Across from these quarters was the Tactical Operations Center, the heart of the training exercise.

In the TOC, officers and Non-Commissioned Officers studied information on their laptops, making notations and adjustments as they read. Their makeshift offices were heated by portable units and yards of heating ducts that fit into vents on the sides of the new shelter system. Internet capabilities were provided, as well as secure lines for controlling classified information.

Information was transmitted via antennas set up on-site by members of the Base Band Node platoon, Delta Company, 57th Signal Battalion, 3rd Signal Brigade. The platoon set up two antennas, both facing another antenna on the main post. The information would travel faster - from the field - than even broadband could allow. Staff Sgt. Matthew Kirsch, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the platoon members, said the system was the COSCOM's link to the rest of the world for the week.

The transmission system provided data and voice communications via base band node signals which went from the field to an awaiting antenna, and vice versa. This system allowed both emails and video communications to take place, said Spc. David Zavala of the BBN platoon.

All these technological provisions seemed amazing to some COSCOM Soldiers. One of these Soldiers is Master Sgt. Joseph R. Martinez NCOIC of Operations, COSCOM G3.

Martinez is a veteran of the infantry. He recalls field training exercises as times when he would be told to grab his rucksack and go. Field training for him was uncomfortable and not very technological.

"Back in '93, '94, in Korea - it was old school!" Martinez claimed.

Today, though, things are different, the master sergeant said.

Spc. Adryen Wallace, and the job he does for the COSCOM, is proof of that himself. Wallace is a 25M - Multimedia Illustrator. What he does, though, is beyond drawing or making videos. In the field, Wallace was doing manual labor, laying land lines to connect the TOC with the separate headquarters tents - the Headquarters and Headquarters Company and the Special Troops Battalion.

"This is pretty much (standard operating procedure) for commo," Wallace said, continuing to dig a trench with a pickaxe.

The trench, he added, would protect the cable from vehicles that could roll over it and pull it up. With the cable laid, leadership in the various tents would be able to communicate quickly and easily with leaders in other areas of training.

Another Multimedia Illustrator, Spc. Ann Ogonowski, was hard at work in the field. Her mission was to draw a picture of the training site and transfer it to a power point presentation so personnel could be briefed and would know the layout of the area.

"It's actually part of my (military occupational specialty)," the specialist said. "I'm a graphics Soldier. I do anything visual."

As for modern COSCOM training, Ogonowski had only one thing to say. "What we do is all about communications, information."

"Technology's amazing," Martinez added. "Taxpayers' money is going to good use."

 

Spc Adryen Wallace
Spc. Adryen Wallace, multimedia illustrator for the Special Troops Battalion, 13th Corps Support Command, digs a trench in preparation of laying a land line for the COSCOM's field exercise January 23-26. The COSCOM's field exercise focused largely around integrating modern technology and communications. Photo by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge, 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Specialist