(See photos at end of story)

MADISON RELAY SITE, South Korea — Upgrading an electrical power system at a communication relay site sounds simple enough: Deliver the gear and get to work.

But it gets a bit more difficult when the site is perched nearly a mile in the sky, atop of one of South Korea’s infamous and innumerable craggy mountains. And when the only way to get there includes negotiating 700 steep steps, moving 6,500 pounds of gear by hand is nearly impossible.

Faced with the daunting task, members of the 362nd Signal Company, 41st Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade did what they do best — they communicated. Actually, they called the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade and asked for helicopter support.

A CH-47D Chinook crew from Camp Humphreys arrived Wednesday to help haul the gear to the top of the Madison Relay Site.

John Kearly, an electronics worker with the signal battalion, said Wednesday’s work was part of a larger project to upgrade communication sites that will remain after the restructuring of U.S. Forces on the peninsula.

“It’s to improve communications reliability,” Kearly said of the work at the sites.

Kearly and Richard Haugh, a project manager with the battalion, described Madison as a part of the communications “backbone” that facilitates the flow of information across South Korea.

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