Story by Spc. Andrew Baba
300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
WHITEHALL, Ohio– The 490th Tactical Installation Network-Enhanced Company demonstrated a visible presence at the Army Reserve Mega Event held here on June 22, 2013.
The Army Reserve’s Mega Event was organized by the United States Army Reserve Command to showcase the available jobs to current and future Soldiers.
The presence of the 490th Signal Company (Tactical Installation Network-Enhanced) at this event was to feed into this general purpose, and to demonstrate the value it adds to the Army Reserve.
“We are here to put up a display of what our unit is, what we do and the value we add to the Army Reserve,” said Capt. Emile Hawkins, company commander of 490th SC (TIN-E), and native of New Orleans, La.
“What we bring to the fight is the ability to support an entire combat command, meaning that, even though we report directly to a brigade as a company size unit, we support a lot larger than a brigade. We have capacity to interface with various types of companies in setting up and maintaining their network.”
Future soldiers who stopped over at 490th SC’s kiosk were surprise that the skill sets present in the Signal Corps are available to incoming soldiers like themselves. After brief introduction and education on all the opportunities the Signal Corps offers, some future soldiers indicated interest, but expressed concern that these opportunities were not made open to them at they signed up.
“I had always wanted to work with technology, and I am surprised to find that I could actualize that dream while I serve in the Army,” said Ty Hamilton, a future soldier from Columbus, Ohio. “I didn’t know much about the jobs available, and certainly, I knew nothing about this job when I signed up.”
However, not all soldiers had such limited information about the Signal Corps as Hamilton did. A young soldier in the 490th SC (TIN-E) counted himself as fortunate to have been aware of the job specialties in the Signal Corps from the outset.
“I am happy to be in this career field,” said Pfc. Joshua J. Ayers, signal support specialist with the 490th SC (TIN-E), and native of Columbus, Ohio. “This job was what I had always wanted, so I jumped at it when my recruiter said it was available and I was qualified.”
Ayers believes that his civilian career has benefited from his Army training as a system support specialist. “My training in the Army has made me more attractive to civilian employees,” Ayer said. “Working in a similar career field on the civilian side has made me an efficient employee, and I believe this is because of the training the Army has given me…Besides being proficient on the job, my Army training has changed my demeanor. I am more respectable than I used to be, and respect for authority, both military and civilian, has become second nature for me.”
Like Ayer’s personal experience, the Army builds maturity in most areas of life, a reason why Hawkins urged young people to consider joining the Army because it helps them get to where they want to be faster and cheaper.
“The Army provides enormous opportunities in terms of training and growth in several career fields,” said Hawkins. “For those who wish to build their careers in the field of engineering, I urge them to think of the Signal Corps, because there is no better place to get hands-on experience.”
The participation of 490th SC (TIN-E) in this event was important because it is one of only five companies in the entire United States Army, inclusive of the Reserve, National Guard and Active components. The 490th SC (TIN-E), which is located in Columbus, Ohio, is part of the 359th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade and is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan later this year.