To the editor:
I read with great interest the article in the Fall 2000 Army Communicator that talks about 58th Signal Battalion’s training in jungle skills with the Marines. Many in the past have objected to this type of training for Signal soldiers, since it takes away valuable training time from critical military-occupation-specialty training, which is the main reason for having a Signal Regiment.
I for one have no objection to "adventure training" for Signal troops. All soldiers need to have survival skills – and rappeling, first aid, weapons and chicken- and goat-killing/eating are all part of that. At the same time, Signal commanders are missing a great opportunity to train in hard-to-experience combat-communications skills.
During this type of training, if Signal soldiers aren’t transporting combat-net radios (high frequency, very-high frequency, satellite communications), antennas, power sources or data-transmission devices, and establishing and keeping a communications-net schedule, then a tremendous opportunity to learn combat-communications skills under extreme circumstances is being missed.
After all, almost anyone can chop the head off a chicken or slaughter a goat. Our role in the Army is to have the skills needed to keep the fighting lines of communications open – while also being able to survive alongside the warfighters.
In my opinion, the next time 58th Signal Battalion or anyone else does this type of training, they should take with them their handheld and manpack equipment, learn how to make antennas and employ them in the jungle/woods/etc., and establish ground-to-ground, ground-to-air and reachback communications. Then and only then will this type of training be worth something to the Signal Regiment. Meanwhile, pass the jungle-roast chicken, please.
Fort Monmouth, N.J.
(Retired Signal lieutenant colonel)
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Army Communicator is part of Regimental Division, a division of Office Chief of Signal.