by SSG David Carney
During the October 2000 warfighter exercise at Fort Lewis, Wash., Active and Reserve Component soldiers worked side by side. The multicomponent 142d Signal Brigade Active Component/ Reserve Component soldiers provided communications for the several thousand soldiers participating in the exercise.
In today’s rapidly changing "One Army" concept, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish AC from RC.
In the following photograph, they’re wearing the same battle-dress uniform and the same unit patch. SPC Chris Dunn, on the left side, is in his second year of college. Dunn is studying to be a youth pastor and has been a soldier for two years.
|SPC Chris Dunn, left, and SPC Robert Allison perform vehicle maintenance. Although both soldiers wear the same unit patch (142d Signal Brigade), Dunn is a National Guardsman, while Allison is Regular Army. Dunn has been a soldier for two years; Allison for 10 months.|
SPC Robert Allison, on the right side, is an intelligence analyst. Allison has been a soldier for 10 months and has a four-year degree in business.
The interesting point here is that when AC and RC soldiers work together, they acquire great respect for each other.
"The Guardsmen are friendly and know what they’re doing. They work well together. I had basic training and advanced individual training with Reservists, so I know we all had the same training. However, the Southern accent does give them away," Allison said of his coworkers from the Alabama Army National Guard.
CPT Tanya Schilling, plans officer, 142d Forward, said, "Working with Reservists is kind of fun because you get historical information about previous exercises. The Guard provides longevity. Many of their officers have prior enlisted experience, so they’ve worked with this equipment in a hands-on environment while I have to read the manuals. 1LT Sweeney, a Guardsman, worked in these Signal shelters as an enlisted soldier. Officers like him, who have seen both the enlisted and officer side, as well as Guard and active components, contribute significantly to today’s Army."
"We’re all Signal soldiers; when you’re doing Signal, it’s all the same thing," added SFC Robert Bollozos, operations sergeant for 142d Forward.
Administrative specialist PFC Tameka Lindsey said, "I like (working with the Guard). They’re some pretty good workers, and I’m learning a lot from them. SPC Greg Sanford (a Guardsman) is teaching me his job."
RC soldiers were equally appreciative of their active counterparts.
"I think it’s pretty cool that I’m getting to spend time with soldiers who are on the front line every day defending our country," said Dunn. "I have a lot of respect for Regular Army soldiers."
MAJ Theresa Hornung supervised Allison during the warfighter exercise. "I’ve been so impressed with Allison. He’s blended right in with us," she said. "Soldiers are soldiers. It’s all the same uniform."
LTC Glenn Cottles, 142d Forward’s operations officer, noted, "It’s actually not that big a deal. We’ve been working together since 1984. We’ve participated together in many overseas missions in the past 16 years. Reserve and active members of 142d work well together. In fact, when you think about it for a moment, our younger soldiers have trained together ever since they entered the Army. They’ve never known any different." LTC Cottles supervises more than 80 AC soldiers.
BG Dallas Fanning, 142d Signal Brigade’s commander, emphasized, "We are one Army. Every soldier here wears the same uniform and has received the same training. When I see a soldier wearing the 142d patch, it makes me proud that I can’t tell the difference. "
SSG Carney is 142d Signal Brigade’s public-affairs noncommissioned officer.
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Army Communicator is part of Regimental Division, a division of Office Chief of Signal.