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At Army's Camp Walker in Taegu, South Korea, Spc. Lakeshia Thompson (standing) works with Spc. John Schaefer to cover windows of their satellite communications vehicle during unit training exercise. Both are members of 229th Signal Company, 307th Signal Battalion, out of Camp Carroll in Waegwan, South Korea.
At Army's Camp Walker in Taegu, South Korea, Spc. Lakeshia Thompson (standing) works with Spc. John Schaefer to cover windows of their satellite communications vehicle during unit training exercise. Both are members of 229th Signal Company, 307th Signal Battalion, out of Camp Carroll in Waegwan, South Korea. (Franklin Fisher / S&S)
At Army's Camp Walker in Taegu, South Korea, Spc. Lakeshia Thompson (standing) works with Spc. John Schaefer to cover windows of their satellite communications vehicle during unit training exercise. Both are members of 229th Signal Company, 307th Signal Battalion, out of Camp Carroll in Waegwan, South Korea.
At Army's Camp Walker in Taegu, South Korea, Spc. Lakeshia Thompson (standing) works with Spc. John Schaefer to cover windows of their satellite communications vehicle during unit training exercise. Both are members of 229th Signal Company, 307th Signal Battalion, out of Camp Carroll in Waegwan, South Korea. (Franklin Fisher / S&S)
Members of Army communications unit in South Korea work on cable during unit training exercise at Army's Camp Walker in Taegu. Pfc. Jonathan Glover (left) and Spc. Dennis McVey (right) are members of Company B, 307th Signal Battalion, out of Camp Carroll in Waegwan.
Members of Army communications unit in South Korea work on cable during unit training exercise at Army's Camp Walker in Taegu. Pfc. Jonathan Glover (left) and Spc. Dennis McVey (right) are members of Company B, 307th Signal Battalion, out of Camp Carroll in Waegwan. (Franklin Fisher / S&S)

TAEGU, South Korea — Several times each year, the big green trucks roll out of the motor pool and fan out across lower South Korea as the 307th Signal Battalion takes to the field to practice its wartime mission.

“If we can’t survive in a tactical, wartime environment, we’re not doing anyone any good,” said Capt. Rudy Lunasin, commanding officer of the battalion’s Company B.

So Lunasin was glad his troops and the others of the battalion, based at Camp Carroll, a logistics base in Waegwan, were back in the field honing their skills.

The battalion’s main wartime job is to make sure the Army can get its messages through — phone, e-mail, radio traffic — even if enemy action knocks out the usual civilian communications networks in place during peacetime.

They can roll right into a battle area, hook up their generators, position their antennas, connect their cables and spin up their high-tech hardware.

“The warfighters, the field artillery battalion commander 20 clicks away, can send an e-mail to the commanding general across the peninsula via our network, and that’s what we’re doing out here, we’re providing that network to allow the warfighter to communicate throughout the battlefield,” Lunasin said.

The weeklong exercise started May 19, with battalion elements deployed to Camp Walker and Camp Henry in Taegu, Camp Hialeah in Pusan, and other locations.

Besides the practice troops get by working their communications gear, the unit also focuses on the small but important details of operating tactically, including keeping field sites well-concealed.

That, Lunasin said, is “something that we continue to work on every day to ensure that our soldiers understand … that we’re warfighters as well. … When the balloon goes up we’re major targets and when people want to take out a unit, they take out the ‘comms’ first,” Lunasin said.

Camouflaged netting is draped over the boxy trucks, humvees and tall, dish-like antennas typical of a signal unit in the field.

The unit teaches its troops to cover vehicle windows so they won’t reflect light that might attract enemy attention. They want vehicle hoods raised to further block light glancing off a windshield, and their vehicle lights are to be taped.

Pvt. Jonathan Glover is learning these skills during the exercise. He’s a “cable dawg” in Lunasin’s company.

“About site protection,” he said, “I’ve learned how to place the concertina wire, where to place it, how to secure it to the ground so that no one can get through it just by running through it … and with the cammo, how to set the cammo up.

“It’s pretty new to me,” Glover said. “I haven’t been in the military that long. … I’m still learning new things.”

It was a week of new things for Spc. Lakeshia Thompson, too.

“This is my first experience as a team chief and it’s amazing how many small, intricate details go into making a system work,” Thompson said. “I’m learning how to deal with personnel issues, how to do quality assurance checks, risk assessments, and the obvious things like putting up cammo, setting up the system.”

“We always get new soldiers, all the time,” Lunasin said. “I … just want to ensure that my soldiers are ready to go. … So I take it as a great opportunity to ensure that soldiers are trained and ready to fight whenever necessary.”

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