304th becomes lone tactical signal battalion in S. Korea
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Primary tactical communications support in South Korea now falls to one battalion as the Army continues to reduce the U.S. footprint on the peninsula.
Camp Carroll’s 307th Signal Battalion inactivates Friday, leaving Camp Stanley’s 304th Signal Battalion as the peninsula’s only U.S. tactical signal battalion.
Previously, the 307th covered most tactical signal duties south of Taejon in the country’s center, while the 304th handled duties north of the city.
Tactical signal units work on field and mobile communications. The 1st Signal Brigade will retain its strategic signal battalions, which handle communications at fixed bases.
However, strategic units will take on duties formerly handled by tactical units where the mission fits their capabilities, said Lt. Col. Harry Friberg, 1st Signal Brigade operations officer.
“This has been part of the overall theater transformation plan,” Friberg said. “Where appropriate, we’ve also reduced the number of tactical command posts.”
The brigade has all the personnel and resources it needs, Friberg said.
Nevertheless, signal unit soldiers and especially the 304th may have some extra work ahead.
“Now they’ll be responsible for the entire peninsula, which will be a challenge,” said Maj. James Pringle, 307th Signal Battalion executive officer. “What two battalions used to do, now one will do.”
Soldiers taking over the 307th’s duties will have to quickly familiarize themselves with new locations, Pringle said.
Because of the inactivation, the 307th has been operating with a bare-bones staff, Pringle said. The once 700-soldier-strong battalion was down to 200 soldiers while it completed its move.
Three of the 307th’s companies are headed to Hawaii, while the fourth company is headed to Fort Richardson, Alaska. All will support Pacific theater operations.
In another Area IV change, the Korea Theater Network Operations and Security Center will officially become the 6th Signal Center, 1st Signal Brigade on Oct. 13.
The new naming scheme is part of a worldwide Army revision. The unit provides service to korea.army.mil users throughout South Korea.
“As far as the way we do business — protecting the network and providing service on the peninsula — that doesn’t really change,” said Alejo Quinata, chief of network operations for the Camp Walker-based unit.