JUANA DIAZ, Puerto Rico –
Soldiers from the 35th Expeditionary Signal Battalion of the United States Army Reserve in Puerto Rico, 1st Mission Support Command, receive new satellite equipment to optimize their level of readiness.
These are six deployable satellites called Transportable Tactical Command Communications, T2C2, Heavy, whose collective value exceeds 2 million dollars and allows soldiers to establish communications in austere locations.
Upon receiving the equipment, the battalion leaders organized a day of training for the soldiers to test the new equipment and, at the same time, put their skills into practice.
"We are teaching classes on the T2C2 system that the government uses for communications and provide internet in the areas where you don't have access," said John Volkmer, a federal government employee. "This will be able to provide satellite communications pretty much anywhere."
According to the source, this system could be rapidly installed. "Although the standard is around 35 minutes, the fastest I have ever seen it installed, fully making phone calls to other units and accessing the internet is 18 minutes,”said Volkmer.
“We have to realize that it's a government tactical equipment used to support our federal government entities,” said Army Reserve Maj. Edward Simangan, 35th ESB operations officer in charge. “These can actually communicate with other signal equipment like a SNAP.”
The acronym stands for Secure Internet Protocol Router/Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Access Point.
The official hurricane season in Puerto Rico goes from June 1st to November 30 every year, with September as the peak of the season and the month with more cyclone activity.
Since the Caribbean is an area susceptible to hurricanes, the soldiers were lectured on environmental considerations if they are required to deploy the equipment in the area during missions that support the Defense Support of Civil Authorities.
DSCA is the process by which United States military assets and personnel can be used to assist in missions usually carried out by civil authorities.
"We have to be ready for mobilization, support disaster relief efforts, and provide humanitarian assistance," said Col. Carlos Caceres, 1st Mission Support Command commanding officer, to the 35th ESB soldiers during the fielding day. "Our mission as Army reservists is unique, and it's paramount that we continue training with our equipment and maintaining our readiness.”
By request of the Department of the Army the U.S. Army Reserve Command in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands responds to emergencies to save lives, prevent human suffering, and mitigate significant property damage through the DSCA mobilization authorization.
Army Reserve Lt. Col. Mark Aldrich, 35th ESB commander, said this fielding is essential for the battalion because it enables soldiers to work with updated technology.
"When you look at upgrading signal communications, it's always imperative to have the newest equipment," said Lt. Col. Aldrich. "Nowadays we have bigger requirements, more people rely on technology to communicate, and we need to have equipment that gives us the ability to meet those requirements."
The U.S. Army Reserve forces in Puerto Rico have become an essential part of the total force, with streamlined, deployable forces and citizen soldiers who embody the warrior mindset and spirit.