Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Craig Cantrell
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP BUERHING, Kuwait — Armed with radios, Blue Force Tracker systems and antennas, 12 Army Signal Corps Soldiers welcomed the challenge of instructing “Raider” Brigade Soldiers from a variety of specialties at the Black Death Communications Academy, Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
During two iterations, the instructors of the BDCA trained 99 Soldiers on three different communications devices; the Blue Force Tracker and FM and high frequency radios. The BFT is used to digitally coordinate forces on the battlefield, and FM and HF radios allow Soldiers to communicate at different distances.
“We have taken a full military occupational specialty and streamlined it down to a basic course that takes about a week to teach,” said 2nd Lt. Jason Morehouse, platoon leader, Company B, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. “This course is designed to give the operators a basic instruction on how to operate and maintain the equipment.”
During the Raider Brigade’s rotation to the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif., Morehouse said he noticed that many of the Soldiers did not know how to properly operate and maintain their communications equipment.
The BDCA offers Raider Soldiers the opportunity to refresh or expand their knowledge on the Army’s communications equipment.
“The communications academy was a good refresher and also taught me about capabilities I never knew about,” said Spc. Buddy Rash, horizontal construction engineer, Company C, 1st STB. “Communications are very important in the Army, because if you can’t communicate with your fellow Soldiers on the ground, you can’t accomplish your mission.”
Students will be able to take this training and educate their fellow Soldiers.
“The course forced me to brush up on some things about the radios that I haven’t done in a long time and gives the students a knowledge base to go back and train their units as subject matter experts,” said Staff Sgt. Willie Bridges, radio operator maintainer, BDCA instructor, Company B, 1st STB.
The BDCA staff ran its first two courses with 1st STB Soldiers, but plans to open the course to all Raider Brigade units in July.
“Before I attended this course I was not very proficient on communications equipment,” said Spc. Jaymie Honold, health care specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st STB. “This is something every Soldier should attend.”