Story and photos by SFC Anthony Reed
In covering Grecian Firebolt 2000, Reed traveled to various sites, including Camp Park, Calif., Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Eustis, Va., Fort Story, Va., and Fort A.P. Hill, Va.
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – Grecian Firebolt 2000, the largest Signal communications exercise in the Army, was commanded by subordinate units belonging to Army Signal Command June 3-25.
According to Robert Fulbright, chief, exercise branch (ASC G-3), Fort Huachuca, Ariz., the exercise is designed to refine the integration and interoperability among Active Component, Reserve and National Guard units. Grecian Firebolt also integrates the use of current and newly developed generations of equipment, including commercial items, to ensure all services and Army components are familiar with procedures that may be necessary to successfully work together during wartime, he added.
SPC Robert Anderson, a switch operator with Company C, 40th Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, checks his J-1077 four-wire telephone junction-box system at Fort Bliss, Texas, during Grecian Firebolt 2000.
The 335th Theater Signal Command, East Point, Ga., is the executive agent for the exercise. In this capacity, 335th commanded and controlled four brigades consisting of more than 3,700 active, Reserve and National Guard soldiers.
The unit also provided the overall communications network management for communication systems stretching over more than 28 states, according to Fulbright. This communications network – in conjunction with Grecian Firebolt 2000 – supported nationwide exercises including Golden Cargo (19th Theater Army), an ammunition transportation exercise; Golden Coyote (420th Engineer Brigade), an engineering mobilization exercise; Golden Medic (3d Medical Command), a wartime simulation exercise; and Petroleum Exercise (475th Quartermaster Group), a fuel and water transportation exercise.
"This exercise was a huge success," said LTC Emanuel Hampton, chief, exercise and training division (ASC G-3). "Grecian Firebolt 2000 was the largest multicomponent command, control, communications and computer exercise in the Army."
Using a multicomponent force of two active units (11th Signal Brigade, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., and 93d Signal Brigade, Fort Gordon, Ga.), an Army Reserve unit (359th Signal Brigade, Fort Gordon, Ga.) and a National Guard unit (228th Signal Brigade, Spartanburg, S.C.), Grecian Firebolt 2000 served as the epitome of the "one Army, one team" concept.
"After working with the Reserves and Guard, I have an even greater respect for the things they do part-time that we do full-time," said 1LT Nick Logan, Company B, 86th Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, whose unit was deployed to Camp Park, Calif.
"It was a nice blend of active, Reserve and Guard soldiers," said CSM Larry Paylor, ASC’s top enlisted soldier. "It was actually transparent on most sites as I talked to soldiers as they performed their duties. We all wear the same uniform and perform the same excellent duties."
SPC Joseph Dively, special circuits briefer from 93d Signal Brigade checks his AN-TTC 56 single-shelter switch while deployed to Fort Story, Va.
According to Fulbright, the units participating in the exercise took pride not only in the type of services they provided, but also in the quality of communication services provided to customers. These services included nonsecure Internet protocol routing network, which provides a nonsecure data communications network for intra- and inter-theater requirements; secure Internet protocol routing network, which provides a secure data communications network for intra- and inter-theater requirements; tactical packet network, which provides a tactical data communications network for intra- and inter-theater requirements; and videoteleconference, used to provide daily briefings on the exercise.
"This exercise was an excellent opportunity for me to get valuable experience on some of the newest systems in the Army," said SSG Maceo Black, technical controller, 228th Signal Brigade, whose unit was based at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., during the exercise.
"It was nice working with soldiers from other units," said SPC Joseph Dively, special circuits briefer, 67th Signal Battalion, 93d Signal Brigade, whose unit was based at Fort Story, Va., for the exercise. "We learned a great deal from each other."
SFC Reed is assigned to ASC’s public-affairs office.
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Army Communicator is part of Regimental Division, a division of Office Chief of Signal.