FORT HOOD, Texas — Communication has become a driving force for joint military forces to complete missions.
This innovation has been showcased between joint forces of the Mississippi Army and Air National Guard while at Fort Hood during the Multi-echelon Integrated Brigade Training exercise. A MiBT is a multicomponent training event that sustains readiness of reserve and active components in accordance with the U.S. Army’s Total Force policy.
Airmen supporting the communication section for the 184th Sustainment Command provide several resources of communication for Soldiers while in field.
Master Sgt. James K. McKinney, cyber operations non-commissioned officer in charge, 225th Air Control Squadron, Mississippi Air National Guard, sets up communication systems for units to maintain contact while on missions during the MiBT.
“Our mission here is to provide communications to the combatant commander through our joint incident site communications capability system (JISCC),” said McKinney.
The JISCC features advanced communications systems that can rapidly deploy anywhere in the U.S. to enable vital interagency communications at the site of a manmade or natural disaster.
On site during the MiBT, the JISSC integrates secure satellite and wireless communications, land mobile radios, high frequency (HF) ALE, voice-over-IP telephones, and video teleconferencing, non-secure internet, and commercial internet for a complete, self-contained solution. This end-to-end system delivers high-bandwidth connectivity even where the infrastructure is broken or damaged.
“In support of the MiBT, we provide radio systems to Soldiers that are in the field with ways to communicate to higher-ups as well as to their families back home. We provide constant communication, where if they need to call out they have a DSN that’s working and wireless Internet while in the field or at the (tactical operations center),” said Master Sgt. McKinney. “We also have a repeater for our radios that provides range down the roads, with different frequencies, but Master Sgt. Aaron Z. McKenzie is more specialized in the frequencies of the radios.”
McKenzie, a radio frequency transmission technician, is also on the supporting communication staff.
“Our job is to provide backup network signal and radio communication systems. I’m a radio handler. The army is using the SINGAR radios so that we can monitor them on the inside while they are out in the field,” he said.
This training will provide all Soldiers with important components of communication while working in the field. It is important that Soldiers know this type of communication is available to them so their minds will be at ease knowing that someone is there that can relay vital information in an effective manor.
“We are here to serve them in whatever capability they need us and whatever we can provide for them,” said McKinney “This is fantastic! It has opened my eyes and gave me a whole new appreciation for the Army Guard and the Soldiers for what they do in the field. Actually watching them out there, do their maneuvers out there, working with a G-staff in the TOC, and learning more about how they operate compared to what the Air Force does; and trying to work that into a joint system is challenging. Each side has good ideas about how the team works collaboratively to make that cohesive team and joint service push through.”
Both McKinney and McKenzie support the MiBT as well as the effectiveness of all the training that has taken place.
“It’s been a lot of fun! This isn’t my first one. This is the third time I’ve done this and it shows a good correlation and relation between the two different branches. The way the military has been moving lately, they’re doing more and more joint efforts so it just makes more sense that more of our chain of regiments would join as well. Seeing an exercise this large and playing a part in it – providing communications, even though its on the back end of the training – it’s a very huge part of it because this is allowing us to stay in good communication between the outside field and the inside portion.”
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