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Company provides support and training to Soldiers

FORT POLK, La. -  Sgt. Brett Smith and Spc. Barry Fletcher, Company A, 53rd Signal Battalion satellite controllers, assist 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team tactical operators with power balancing procedures during a training rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center here Jan. 5-17.

FORT POLK, La. - Sgt. Brett Smith and Spc. Barry Fletcher, Company A, 53rd Signal Battalion satellite controllers, assist 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team tactical operators with power balancing procedures during a training rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center here Jan. 5-17.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama -- Cross-training in the Army can be nearly as effective at creating a shared understanding as the old adage to "walk a mile in his shoes."

That is what two Soldiers with Company A, 53rd Signal Battalion discovered during a recent liaison mission with 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

"This was a good cross-training opportunity," said Sgt. Brett Smith, senior wideband satellite controller. "This experience helped us as satellite controllers learn more about tactical systems that are operating on the Wideband Global Satellite Network. Now that we have a better understanding of their equipment and common issues they face, we are now better postured to assist Warfighters operating on the wideband satellite across the globe. "

Smith, along with Spc. Barry Fletcher, a transmission controller, were selected for the mission to train with the brigade during their rotation Jan. 5-17. They were integrated into the JRTC operations group and the brigade's G-6, or information management cell, and they provided satellite support and training to the brigade's operators.

Their mission was two-fold. First, the Soldiers validated the brigade's transmission terminals on the Wideband Global Satellite Network before the unit began Force-on-Force actions in the training area. The second objective was cross-training with the tactical operators to gain a shared understanding of each other's roles, procedures and capabilities for providing reliable network services to the Warfighter.

"This experience helped tactical users have a better understanding of wideband operations and how we can better assist them while operating on the wideband satellites," said Fletcher. "We want them to know that we are an added-value resource for them in establishing and maintaining reliable network services to their subscribers."

The controllers provided technical assistance and gained a better understanding of how operators use the system. Operators gained a better understanding of wideband operations and learned ways to properly respond to threats in a contested or disrupted operational space environment.
The experience was beneficial to all said Capt. Vernon Shank, Company A commander.

"This was a great experience for both our satellite controllers and the tactical operators of 1st Armored Division," said Shank. "As the Army evolves into a space-dependent force, space-based capabilities are becoming a critical component in how commanders execute unified land operations. These type of training opportunities help bridge the gap of understanding between strategic and tactical operators while evolving cyberspace operations across the Department of Defense Information Network."

Company A is a part of the Army's only space battalion providing wideband satellite control communications to the Department of Defense, interagency, combatant commands and multinational partners across the globe. They are a part of 1st Space Brigade, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.

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