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Company C Signaleers make the connection

by SPC Derick Vance

DEVENS RESERVE FORCES TRAINING AREA, Mass. � �Can you hear me now? Good.�

Connecting the lines of communication is a formidable task for any group of people trying to convey information, whether they�re commercial wireless companies or soldiers on assignment at this New England military post. Company C, 280th Signal Battalion � an Army National Guard unit from Westbrook, Conn. � did its part to connect those lines of communication during Grecian Firebolt, the largest global-communications exercise in the world.

The 280th Signal Battalion supported 12 units involved in the Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants Exercise held at military installations across the country. �Our mission is to ensure a secure phone network and supply communications support to the POLEX training,� said SSG John O�Briant, one of many noncommissioned officers providing instruction to 280th soldiers.

The 280th�s mission is installing, operating, maintaining and troubleshooting phone networks. It�s tasked and trained to set up its equipment and to quickly be fully operational. �When we hit the ground, we can be up and running within 24 hours,� said O�Briant.

SGT Nicholas Diluggo, NCO in charge of operations, described 280th�s equipment used in Grecian Firebolt. �There are radio trucks connected to two 90-foot antenna towers that shoot a radio signal out to a number of sites, allowing phone connection to as many as 50 subscribers at each site,� Diluggo said. �Soldiers in the woods will be able to communicate with other soldiers across the country.�

The 280th also has Internet and email capability, he said.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the exchange of information has become a great priority among military and civilian organizations alike, so POLEX�s significance is important to the Army�s mission. �It gives us the opportunity to test our skills,� O�Briant said.

�Being an operations NCO, I need to be informed about terrorist threats,� Diluggo said.

The exercise also provided soldiers with two full weeks to train under simulated combat situations. �The soldier knows if a real-world mission comes up, he or she can do his or job,� said Diluggo.

�There are about 90 (Signal) soldiers on the ground to carry out the mission,� he added.

SPC Vance is assigned to 214th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Richmond, Va.

See related article on 280th Signal Battalion's A and B companies' work in POLEX and Grecian Firebolt.

Acronym QuickScan
NCO � noncommissioned officer
POLEX � Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants Exercise

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