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Support soldiers are lifeline for units

by SSG Tim Volkert

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. � More than 800 soldiers from 11th Signal Brigade here deployed to sites around the country during exercises Grecian Firebolt and Roving Sands June 15-30.

Among the Signaleers were soldiers who are the brigade�s lifeline: the support personnel. These behind-the-scenes soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers keep the brigade running.

SSG Frederick Lane from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 11th Signal Brigade, is one person who has an accurate touch of what goes on in the brigade. As the personnel NCO of the brigade, it�s his office that tracks all soldiers during an exercise.

"I support the Signal Regiment by giving it all the administrative services and support it needs: accountability, strengths, personal actions and gains and losses," said Lane.

His mission doesn�t change just because he�s in a tent instead of an office. "We still try to maintain the same (operational) tempo ... push out awards, (personnel) actions and any other administrative action. We try to make it the same," he said.

Lane said the only drawback is limited supplies in the field environment.

Other support soldiers load up their entire shops and bring them along. CPT Hugh McCauley, commander of 19th Signal Company, 504th Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, leads such soldiers. His company�s mission is to supply maintenance support for electronic and supply activities.

"Our mission here in the field is exactly same ... it�s just a matter of instead of working in the motor pool, we work out of shelters," he said.

His unit brought out 15 shelters for Grecian Firebolt/Roving Sands � 30- and 40-foot tractor trailers that function as traveling repair shops and have the capabilities to fix anything from environmental-control units to the vehicles they�re mounted on.

For maintenance personnel, getting to the site is the biggest challenge.

"The biggest challenge for us is just getting here," said SFC Rolf Ulrich, a motor sergeant from 69th Signal Company, 504th Signal Battalion. "Once we get out to site and get our vehicles set up, it�s usually pretty easy after that."

Being out of the motor pool also presents others challenges. Ulrich said his soldiers didn�t have the luxuries of air-impact tools and other equipment. The positive side is that he was able to see if soldiers were doing preventive-maintenance checks and services on their vehicles and equipment.

PFC Robert Russell takes off clutch fan at Exercise Roving Sands PFC Robert Russell, a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic from Company A, 86th Signal Battalion, begins the process of taking off the clutch fan at 86th Signal Battalion's motorpool while deployed to Fort Bliss, Texas, for Exercise Roving Sands.

Whether it�s personnel, motorpool or food-service personnel, the behind-the-scenes soldiers help ensure mission success during training exercises.

SSG Volkert is assigned to 11th Signal Brigade�s public-affairs office at Fort Huachuca.

Acronym QuickScan
NCO � noncommissioned officer

dividing rule

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