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High tech commo training for Rail Gunners

Feb 28, 2011

By Spc. Dalinda Hanna, 41st Fires Brigade, PAO

FORT HOOD, Texas-Satellite communications specialist and noncommissioned officers throughout the 41st Fires Brigade took part in the High Capacity Line-of-Site (HCLOS) certification training on Fort Hood, Texas, Feb. 23-25.

"HCLOS provides the point-to-point way to pass secure data. The units will be able to access the internet, send emails, and make phone calls within the network," said Carrie Carroll, a military technical trainer. "Radio communications has been out for a while, but equipment has molded and changed to meet the Army's needs over the years."

The Soldiers learned how to connect, operate, and troubleshoot errors on the HCLOS equipment. The Rail Gunner Soldiers are preparing themselves for equipment operations necessary in all environments; whether it's in the field or in a deployment environment.

The training ensures units have enough operators to cover 24-hour shifts, and that HCLOS use is a vital part in how units talk to each other on the battlefield. The course here differed from HCLOS training offered elsewhere. The Soldiers trained on real-world equipment; ready to transmit and receive information. Other training environments use mock equipment that does not allow users to test their equipment in battlefield scenarios or give feedback.

Spc. Mark Schallberg, from River Falls, Wis., and a multi-channel transmissions system operator maintainer for 324th Network Support Company, 41st Fires Bde., said that learning this equipment is important to do his job.

"Having functional equipment is a different experience because it allows you to see the process from start to finish, giving me immediate feedback on if I'm doing my job correctly," said Schallberg.

Cross-training with Soldiers who have used the HCLOS equipment before is beneficial to new users since they can work together and answer questions about specific functions and operations in an actual training or field environment.

"I will be an alternate operator when I use the system so I will need to know how to start it up, get it aligned, and how to connect it to the command post operations node," said Spc. Gary Bendall, a signal support specialist originally from Prince George, Va.

Effective training is imperative to successful field operations. The Rail Gunner Soldiers, both new users and experienced, learned effective skills that will be a big part in providing essential communications in the field or in a theatre of operations somewhere in the world.

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