OIF 1: April 28, 2003 – April 15, 2004
Platoon Leader: 1LT Sullivan
Platoon Sergeant: SFC David
HHC, 3rd Brigade
Hawk Troop 1st CAV.
HHC, 70 EN
HHC, 4-1 FA
C Company 501st MI
N77, 596 Signal Company, Fort
N70, 141st Signal BN, Germany
N72, 141st Signal BN, Germany
N35, 35th Signal BDE, Fort Bragg
N03, 22nd Signal BDE, Germany
N05, 22nd Signal BDE, Germany
N11, 22nd Signal BDE Germany
N93, Michigan National Guard
N61, 123rd Signal BN, Fort Stewart
N60, 123rd Signal BN, Fort Stewart
N65, 123rd Signal BN, Fort Stewart
N41 13th Signal BN, Fort Hood
the ground assault convoy to Baghdad, Node Center 76 was assigned
to set up at Camp Bulldog, co-located with the 3rd
Brigade TOC and the headquarters elements.
Node Center 76 seamlessly integrated with 141st Signal
Battalion assets and took a significant portion of the network.
The Node Center adapted to new signal technologies by
establishing links utilizing TACSAT and SMART-T terminals.
They also integrated different signal assemblages such as
ATM SENs and ATM Node Centers.
the summer months, the node center encountered challenges brought
on by the heat. They
overcame serious equipment issues in both the operations and
switching shelters to provide excellent network and subscriber
Center 76 performed excellently while experiencing a number of
leadership changes. There
were changes to the node center section NCO positions, CPT
Sullivan (the platoon leader) was transferred to 1-13 AR, and CPT
O’Neal was replaced by CPT Warner as the company commander.
node center section contributed to the guard force at Camp Bulldog
and pulled shifts at the gate and on the towers.
They performed their force protection and signal duties
while under indirect fire from mortars and rockets.
The transmission section excelled in several areas during OIF I.
During the initial set-up they utilized a 45 meter clock
tower to set up their Line of Site antennas.
Their creativity and ability to adapt allowed them to bring
in links that no other transmission sections in theatre were able
The transmission section adapted to numerous challenges and
an ever changing environment.
They worked through some heat issues with their basebands
and BI/BIII radios burning up.
The section sergeant returned back to Fort Riley to PCS,
and SSG King stepped up to be the new section sergeant.
transmission section was extremely helpful in supporting the
company’s convoy missions in and around Baghdad.
They provided drivers, gunners, and TCs for countless
missions to provide maintenance support to external signal sites.
The 1st Platoon Extension
Section provided excellent voice, NIPR, and SIPR communications to
a wide variety of units and subscribers.
Their actions enabled the 3rd Brigade Combat
Team and many other battalions to successfully carry out their war
co-located with the node center.
Their subscribers included the BDE TOC, Hawk Troop, and the
HHC medics. H52
supported the 17th EN and 1-37 AR, allowing them to
conduct daily combat operations and communicate with their higher
headquarters, sister units, and subordinate units.
H53 moved throughout the area of operations supporting a
number of battalions to include 4-27 FA, 1-13 AR, 70 EN, 2-70 AR,
and 2-6 IN. Their
ability to jump quickly and adapt to new surroundings ensured
reliable communications for all subscribers.
H75 supported 125th FSB and the entire Brigade
Support Area, ensuring that the brigade logisticians had the
communications support needed to complete their mission.
R76 was located with the node center and they provided
valuable assistance in the platoon operations center.
Platoon Leader: CPT Steve Bjorkman
Platoon Sergeant: MSG
HHC, 3rd Brigade
4-1 FA / BDOC
NC 11, 327th Signal BN, Fort Bragg
NC 83, 134th Signal BN, Minnesota National Guard
NC 82, 51st Signal BN, Fort Bragg
NC 40, 133rd Signal BN, Illinois National Guard
NC 41, 133rd Signal BN, Illinois National Guard
arrival in Kuwait, 1st Platoon conducted an extensive
Switch-Ex for the node center, four LOS V-3 shelters, four Small
Extension Node Systems, and a Remote Access Unit System ensuring
that all equipment was fully mission capable.
The platoon also installed level-3 up-armor on all vehicles
to ensure safe passage to Camp Taji.
the 3rd Infantry Division moved to its forward area of
operations, 1st Platoon left the Kuwait Staging Area on
a Ground Assault Convoy and arrived 3 days later at Camp Taji,
Iraq. During the 72
hour, 350-mile Ground Assault Convoy the platoon provided aid to
disabled vehicles along the route, pulled security during
maintenance halts, providing communications to higher
headquarters, and coordinated the maintenance and recovery efforts
that enabled the entire platoon to arrive at Camp Taji with no
injuries or losses to personnel or equipment.
Upon arrival to Camp Taji, Node Center 76 was immediately
tasked to relieve Node Center 40.
The Node Center section set up in record time and began to
take shots one by one from NC40. However, it was soon discovered that S110A and S110B had some
internal problems (faulty wiring behind the A6 and A7 racks) that
could not be quickly fixed, so both shelters were evacuated to
Camp Liberty for repair. NC5577
was put in place of NC5576 while it was a Camp Liberty.
After NC5576 came out of repair it was sent to 2nd
Platoon at Camp Prosperity, and S210A and S210B were declared
Platoon Node Center section demonstrated their excellence during a
series of boards. Three
soldiers appeared before the promotion board and all three
received recommendations for promotion, along with praise for
their professionalism and leadership abilities. The same three soldiers went to the Soldier of the Month
board. Two of them
won the Soldier of the Month board and competed at the Soldier of
the Quarter board, which one of them won.
Two of the node center section NCOs competed at the
prestigious Audie Murphy Club Board, and one of them was inducted
into the club. All of
this was done despite being in a combat zone.
Node Center section did many things to improve their site and
working conditions. They constructed a wooden shelter complete with insulation
and air conditioning. They
fixed a large commercial generator to power the air conditioners
within the building.
Their actions during this deployment have set high
standards for others to follow and to remind everyone that NC 76
is the best and will always be the 1st Node of the
Chargers while Laying the Smack Down!
section excelled in several areas during OIF 04-06.
Their teamwork and “Get It Done” attitude enabled them
to engineer multiple LOS radio shots to provide stellar network
coverage with internodal and subscriber links.
section was extremely helpful in supporting the company’s convoy
missions in and around Baghdad.
They provided drivers, gunners, and TCs for countless
missions to provide maintenance support to external signal sites.
section continued to perform admirably by leading the platoon in
base defense operations at Ice House Gate.
They provided the majority of personnel for security
operations at one of four entrance points to Camp Taji that
processed between 1,000 - 5,000 vehicles and personnel daily.
Their hard work directly contributed to the safety of
12,500 US and Coalition Forces on Camp Taji and the success of the
Company, Battalion, Brigade, and Division’s logistics support
Platoon Extension Section provided excellent voice, NIPR, and SIPR
communications to a wide variety of units and subscribers.
Their actions enabled the 3rd Infantry Division,
3rd Brigade Combat Team, and many other battalions to
successfully carry out their war time missions.
located at the Camp Taji air field.
Their subscribers included the Taji air tower, ground
control, and equipment maintenance sections.
They provided SIPR access to the air tower, enabling the
air traffic controllers to monitor and access mission essential
weather and air traffic control information.
located on the CMATT side of Camp Taji.
They supported the 4th Marine Division military
transition team and 1st Division Iraqi Intervention
Force. As a result of
excellent voice and SIPR communications, the soldiers working with
the Iraqi forces were able to better train and equip them to
combat terrorists and insurgents.
Many times, the SIPR terminal was the only way for the
Marine Commanders to communicate with their forward operating
located in the Living Support Area (LSA).
They supported 596 SIG, 4-1 FA, 70 EN, 125 FSB, 1-13 AR,
and 3BCT HQ by providing phone service for the living quarters of
the key leaders within the brigade.
Their excellent service enabled the maneuver elements to
contact their key leaders at all hours of the night, ensuring
exceptional command and control throughout the brigade.
supported the 125th FSB, 47th EOD, the Taji
Fire Department, and Mortuary Affairs.
They were co-located with the 125th FSB at the
Brigade Support Area. Besides
providing outstanding voice communications, they also helped their
subscribers develop a method to run telephone wire on an aerial
pole that significantly reduced the frequency of it being cut.
extension section sergeant was the 596th Signal Company
Ground Assault Convoy Commander for a four vehicle team that
executed over 100 tactical movements to the BIAP, Camp Liberty,
Camp Falcon, Camp Prosperity, “Bulldog” Brigade FOB (Camp
Taji) and various external Signal sites in order to provide
maintenance, Class I, Class IV, and Class IX support to other
teams and platoons within the company.
2nd Platoon History
Platoon Leader: 1LT
Sherri Sears, 1LT Danny Berndt
Platoon Sergeant: SFC
10th Mountain Division
82nd Airborne Division
Various National Guard units
2nd Platoon, 596th
Signal Company received mission orders to provide area MSE
communications in southern Baghdad.
Our main Operations Base was out of Camp Dogwood, located
approximately 40 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq.
Camp Dogwood was under the command of DISCOM, 1st
Armored Division (1AD). We
worked with C Company, 141st Signal Company and their
Large Extension Node (LEN).
N77 supported the communication needs of Camp Dogwood and
provided the technical expertise to C Co. 141st Signal
Company in the maintenance of their equipment. This was the first deployment in which the company was
integrated with TACTSAT and SMART-T transmission systems.
Camp Dogwood deactivated in December of 2003, which caused
NC77 to reestablish their platoon operations at the Baghdad
International Airport (BIAP).
Upon our arrival, we initiated recovery and system deep
cleaning procedures in preparation for future missions.
Despite a mid-tour change of command, 2nd
platoon continued to provide flawless service to their supporting
units. 1LT Sears
commanded from April to October of 2003, and was later replaced by
In January of 2004,
N77 was tasked to provide communications support to 1-13 AR at FOB
Gunner in northeastern Baghdad.
Our main mission was to provide SIPR access to the command,
which allowed them to obtain immediate and time sensitive
On the following month, N77 received another mission to
deploy to Camp Bulldog, the command operations base of 3rd
Brigade, 1st AD. 2nd
Platoon was integrated into the guard force and executed daily
signal tasks. While
there, N77 received the mission to relieve N71, which had to be
sent to the Electronic Maintenance for repairs.
NC 71 was fixed two weeks later, allowing NC77 to rejoin
the company at Camp Bulldog.
Platoon Leader: 2LT Vanara
Platoon Sergeant: SFC
Meveran G. E. Banks
4th Brigade, 3rd
Infantry Division’s TOC
NC 5283: B/134 SIG
L78: 596th Signal Company
JNN: 4-3 BTB, 4th Brigade, 3rd Infantry
Upon arrival to
Kuwait, 2nd platoon, “Mighty Deuce,” conducted an
extensive Switch-Ex for the node center, four Small Extension Node
Systems, four LOS V-3 shelters, and a Remote Access Unit System
ensuring that the equipment was fully mission capable.
In addition, they installed level 3 up armor on their 24
vehicles in preparations for the Ground Assault Convoy.
The company conducted a 72 hour, 350-mile Ground Assault
Convoy from Kuwait to Taji, Iraq.
During this convoy, 2nd platoon successfully
conducted proper battle drills, providing security during
maintenance stops and assistance for disabled vehicles along the
Upon arrival to Taji, N77 was tasked to set up an MSE
network at Camp Prosperity in support of 4th Brigade, 3rd
Infantry Division. However,
a week or so before the vehicles and equipment were scheduled to
be line hauled, 1st platoon began encountering problems
with their switch. Because
2nd platoon had the only other functional switch at the
time, the command made a decision to replace 1st
platoon’s switch with 2nd platoon’s switch.
Unfortunately for 2nd platoon, they had to sign
their switch over to 1st platoon so that 1st
platoon can carry on with their mission.
In the meantime, 2nd
platoon fell in under NC 5282, a reserved node center from B/134
SIG (256th) National Guard Unit.
NC5282 was an asset that B/134th Signal did not
have in system at that particular time.
2nd platoon now had a very challenging task at
hand because they were going to have to put in system a switch
that they were not familiar with its current conditions.
the experience and expertise of the switch operators in 2nd
platoon, they were able to quickly bring up the node center in
record time providing one of only two operational vantage links in
since 256th was scheduled to leave in September, there
was a big push to get NC 76 fixed so that they can send NC 77 back
to 2nd platoon.
Yet, it did not go
as planned. NC 76
came back from Liberty with repairs but 1st platoon was
still running into technical issues when testing it out.
Because NC 76 was not operational at that particular time,
they could not conduct a Relief in Place (RIP) for NC 77;
therefore, they sent they sent the broken switch down to 2nd
Once again, with the expertise and experience of 2nd
platoon’s switch operators, they were able to build a database
from scratch and successfully bring up NC 76 in no time.
The node center section contributed to the guard force at
Camp Prosperity. They
pulled shifts at the gate and on the towers performing force
protection and their signal duties while under direct and indirect
fire from small arms, mortars, and rocket attacks.
In addition, they skillfully constructed a wooden platoon
command post from very limited resources to establish a functional
operations center for the management section.
Here, daily operations and tasks were sent up to the
company for accountability upon mission completion.
In addition, they also created their own MWR area, which
was equipped with a television and an AFN satellite allowing
soldiers to watch the news, their favorite shows, and major
unexpected setbacks and the overwhelming odds, 2nd
platoon always found a way to adjust fire and complete its
determination and desire to excel exemplifies their dedication to
duty and to mission accomplishment.
They are always ready for a challenge and are always chosen
for the toughest tasks, which demonstrate that the “Mighty
Deuce” will always be the best platoon and will always as the
company would say, “GET IT DONE!”
section did great things during OIF 04-06.
During the initial set-up, they hand carried three Line of
Site antennas to the top of Saddam’s palace, often known as the
Four Heads Palace, to establish the best possible shot.
In addition, they spent countless hours running wires and
cables through ducts and under roadways along the busy road to
ensure the longevity and serviceability of their cables and wires.
Their continual maintenance ensured that their equipment
and vehicles were fully mission capable.
H61 was located at
Camp Hope. They have
been providing excellent voice, NIPR, and SIPR communications with
minimal communications outages to 3-15th Infantry
outstanding service allowed their subscribers to have reliable
phone service and access to mission essential information through
the SIPR net.
H62 has moved around
more than any other SEN in the company. H62 supported 2nd BDE’s NETOPS while at Camp
Loyalty. In April,
they jumped to BIAP and began supporting 2nd BDE’s
Military Transition Team (MiTT).
In May, they were given another mission to jump with 2nd
BDE’s MiTT to the Ministry of Defense (MOD). While at the MOD,
they constantly came in contact with small arms fire as they were
emplacing their antennas during the initial setup of their system.
Even under such adverse conditions, H62 continued to
provide 2nd BDE with steadfast service allowing them to
carry on with their wartime mission in the establishment and in
the training of the new Iraqi Army.
H63 was located at
Camp Freedom. They
supported B/1-184 IN, 126 MP, 43 VET, and 55th MED. Their excellent service gave these units and their commanders
access to stellar voice, data, NIPR and SIPR communications.
H76 was located at
Camp Independence. Their
unswerving service allowed 10th Group Special Forces
and 4-64 Infantry to dedicate themselves to the ongoing missions
of mounted and dismounted patrols along Haifa Street, one of the
most dangerous streets in Baghdad.
Large Extension Node (LEN)
Platoon Leader: 2LT Wolfe
Platoon Sergeant: SFC D’Andrea
The LEN platoon supported 1st Armored Division
which was commanded by General Dempsey.
They were located at BIAP in an area called “tent
city.” They had
between seventeen to eighteen people staying in three small GP
tents put together and had one air conditioner cooling off the
three tents. Just
like it sounds, it was mighty hot.
While at BIAP, the
platoon enjoyed a very nice gym and a nice DFAC.
In addition, entertainers such as Drew Carey, Bob Hope,
Robin Williams, David Letterman and his band, and the WWE all paid
a visit to the soldiers.
The LEN had some
issues with the switch overheating.
In August, the switching shelter caught on fire because
someone plugged in a CA-67A/U, a new DNVT phone.
That sent too much power back to the switch which set the
DLPMA card on fire. In addition, a couple of the buildings around their
site caught on fire due to the extreme heat.
From there, they
jumped to Falcon to support the 2-504th Parachute
Infantry regiment and part of the 82nd Airborne
Division providing them with over a 90% call completion rate.
Large Extension Node (LEN)
Platoon Leader: 2LT Young
Platoon Sergeant: SFC
The LEN platoon
arrived in Kuwait on 02 February 2005. After testing their
equipment and repacking for movement to Iraq, they were told that
their platoon would be line hauled.
Several members of
the LEN platoon were used to augment convoy security and assist
with driving and TC responsibilities for the other platoons.
SGT Rowson, CPL Williams, SPC Hick, SPC Barnett, SPC Johnson, and
SPC Avelar all participated in the convoy that departed on 15
February. The convoy avoided contact with enemy forces and
arrived at Camp Taji three days later.
The line hauled vehicles did not leave Kuwait until 27
personnel that did not leave the convoy began their flight process
a few days later. They were bused to Al Sheehim (SP)
airfield and loaded a C-130 only to unload about an hour later
due to aircraft mechanical problems. Flying aboard a C-130
was a new experience for most of them which added to the
apprehension and or excitement of the trip. They boarded
another plane about 2 hours later and arrived at Baghdad
International Airport. They spent the night at Camp Striker.
On the following day, they were lined up in chalks to fly
aboard the Chinooks to Camp Taji. However, the Chinooks were
grounded for a defective part. It took them 12 hours to get everyone from BIAP to Taji.
left Taji on 3 April and flew into LZ Washington.
They stayed at Camp Prosperity for approximately one week
and waited for the arrival of their vehicles for further
deployment to Camp Falcon.
is currently attached to 3/7th IN Battalion (Cotton balers).
Some of the other units located at Camp Falcon are 6/8 CAV, 703rd
FSB, 3/3 ACR and a number of ARNG and Reserve units. Most of
the units here were unhappy with the VOIP phone service and valued
the MSE phones for telephone communication.
initially installed radio links with NC77 and NC83. The LEN
also cabled a link to FES 80. In late May, FES 80 moved.
They also dropped NC83’s link replacing it with SEN 43.
Their current network configuration is NC77, and NC40.
majority of the platoon was happy about going to Falcon as they
were there for the last deployment. There were many positive
changes since they have last seen it. There was now a very
nice DFAC, a well equipped gym, and large adequately stocked PX.
They had their own finance, laundry facility, airfield, and
an Immediate Care Treatment Facility. Many of them also
enjoyed the locally operated smoothie shop. Power was not a
problem as there are numerous large generators supplying a
constant amount of 220 power. Each room had a large window
AC unit that could freeze anyone on the hottest days of the summer
season. The LEN platoon used their ingenuity to
construct a ductwork and a sheet metal box to run cold air to
their switch in order to keep it cool and operational during the
blistering summer season. They were fortunate to have a KBR
maintenance shop located there that were willing to fix any of the
vehicle’s mechanical problems and perform routine scheduled
The 596th Signal Company SYSCON Section
consisted of SFC Barrer, SSG Arias, SGT Tello, SGT Burger, SGT
White, SPC Etris, and for a short time SPC Miller and SPC Jones.
SFC Reinhardt joined the section during the middle of the
Network Plans, Engineering, and Controllers Section
The SYSCON Section was hand chosen to lead the signal assets
into deployment to Iraq. They assisted in the coordination and the
development of a comprehensive plan to integrate the company with
141st Signal BN. Upon
arrival in Kuwait, SFC Barrer and SSG Arias conducted an extensive
switch-ex in record time for 6 Node Centers, 2 Large Extension
Nodes, and 24 Small Extension Nodes, ensuring that all of the
equipment was fully mission capable.
This exercise ensured that all soldiers were proficient in
their equipment, which increased the overall readiness of the 596th
Signal Company, the 141st Signal BN, and the 1st
SFC Barrer and SSG Arias were the main points of contact in
troubleshooting the MSE network.
They dedicated countless hours to the overall planning, the
engineering, and the improving of the MSE voice and data network
that supported 1AD Main, 1AD DISCOM, 4BCT's 3ACR, 2ACR, and 2/82
ABN. They helped
manage over 2,542 SIPR and 250 NIPR IP addresses providing
commanders access to classified and unclassified information.
These efforts allowed the 141st Signal Battalion to provide
over 20 VTC's improving the Soldiers’ morale during Operation
Iraqi Freedom I.
SFC Barrer was selected by the 141st Signal Battalion
SYSCON over their own senior NCO's to be the NCOIC of 1AD’s
network due to his vast knowledge and experience of voice and data
systems. He and SSG
Arias were responsible for the CISCO router upgrade required by
Division to improve the security of SIPR and NIPR access.
His initiative was invaluable as all of the units had
complete, clear, concise plans for their communication assets.
596th Signal Company’s vast knowledge of the
automated systems proved to be invaluable when it came to the
success of the division TOC.
During Operation Long Street, 596th Signal
Company managed and emplaced a critical radio link which was
essential in establishing a reach back network for 2/82 ABN.
They also provided the 1457th Engineer Battalion
communication support to build Kirzah range, which exceeded the
planning range for UHF radios.
In addition, hours after the bombing of the United Nations
building in Baghdad, 596th Signal Company rapidly
deployed their SEN in order to restore voice, data, NIPR, and SIPR
capabilities to the command and control allowing them to continue
with their operations.
SGT Tello was proven to be invaluable during the
initial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom I.
His superb communications skills enabled him to become a
network controller, troubleshooting any and all problems with
voice, data, SIPR and NIPR access throughout the THSDN/MSE
network. He was
called upon several times to assist the 141st electronic
maintenance team in issues that they were encountering with the
wire line systems.
SGT Tello's "never quit" attitude and his
exceptional duty performance is exemplifies the highest standard
of military service. He
was known to be the best cable "dog" by the support
personnel within the 141st Signal Battalion.
He also served as network controller during the most
critical initial stages of installing the MSE network, putting in
countless hours troubleshooting the myriad of communications
problems within the network during early stages of development.
He gave more than 100% of his effort ensuring
communications problems were immediately discovered and personally
coordinated with 141st Signal Battalion's Electronic Maintenance
Section personnel to respond to over 50 trouble calls to remote
sites and distant node centers.
While serving as a
Network Controller in the 141st Signal Battalion ISYSCON, SPC
Etris was personally responsible for ensuring that the daily
reports that reflected the status of the network were continually
updated. He was also
responsible for briefing the command group on the status of any
major changes to the MSE network on a daily basis.
SPC Etris did an
outstanding job while serving as a network controller.
SPC Etris was the only Soldier in the section to work in
every single facet of the SYSCON section.
He worked with great dedication to further improve his
skills by volunteering to help with the electronic maintenance
section and by assisting with job orders.
He also spent many hours assisting the automation
specialist with loading software.
The Automations section
SGT Burger was deployed as the only Information Management
Officer (IMO) with the 125th Forward Support Battalion.
He was personally responsible for ensuring that over 35
automated software systems were validated prior to deployment.
He was directly responsible for a V Corps directed router upgrade
for all routers within the 1AD.
This NCO displayed his tenacious "can do"
attitude by coordinating with any unit that was conducting
movement to areas where our communication assets were located. He was able to reach all communication teams spread out over
a 200 square mile radius within a five day period. He personally upgraded over 35 computer systems by himself,
ensuring that all subscribers in our network had continued access
to the SIPR net.
The C& E Section was also part of the SYSCON Section
during OIF I. They
consisted of SGT White and for a short while SPC Lugo and SPC
Jones. SGT White's
flexibility and willingness to mission accomplishment contributed
enormously to the establishment of the 141st Signal Battalion's
SYSCON TOC during OIF. He also volunteered to train Soldiers and NCOs on the PSC-7
TACSAT radio system. His
expertise in telecommunications operation and troubleshooting
greatly increased SYSCON's ability to receive and disseminate
information from higher HQ's to the subordinate units.
Infantry Division’s Network Operations Center (NETOPS) is
responsible for the installation, operation, maintenance and
frequency management of the Division’s voice and data network in
the Army’s first forward deployed Joint Nodal Network (JNN).
Furthermore, they are responsible for 7 different maneuver
brigades, 8 JNN nodes, 24 Command Post Nodes (CPN), 5 Node Centers
(NC), 31 Small Extension Nodes (SEN) including over 97 Line of
Sight (LOS) links and 19 satellite links between JNN, CPN, and
NETOPS is also responsible for the operation and control of
the Army’s newest Command and Control communication tool on the
modern battlefield, the Command Post of the Future (CPOF).
The CPOF is a voice and data system that enables the
Brigade Combat Team Commanders to provide the Division Commanding
General real time updates on the ground battle.