America Supports You: 'SemperComm' Connects Troops to Families
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 22, 2005 Humans, by nature, are social creatures. People have a primordial need to communicate, especially with loved ones.
"SemperComm," a non-profit partnership between Computer Systems Center Incorporated and the United Service Organizations, enables troops stationed in far-flung regions to do just that.
Since some servicemembers stationed in remote locations do not have access to computers or the Internet, SemperComm set out to connect them with the outside world, said Monica Suber, a communications specialist with CSCI.
The partnership between the small Springfield, Va.-based technology company and the USO, which has been providing morale, recreation and entertainment services to men and women in uniform since before World War II, seemed like a perfect fit.
"This unique program targets remote U.S. military bases that the USO is unable to serve and helps to make deployments more bearable for servicemembers stationed far from home," said Linda LaRoche, chief executive officer of CSCI.
The name SemperComm stands for "always communication," a spin on the Marine Corps motto "Semper Fidelis," Latin for "always faithful."
Rather than simply cough up money, CSCI decided to take the partnership one step further and actively lend its know-how to support the troops, Suber said.
The company donated laptop computers and built a secure, private, interactive Web site and communication worksite so that Marines stationed at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan, can communicate with their loved one's back home via keystrokes, Suber said.
The JWTC did not have access to any of the services provided by the USO, such as Internet service, mobile canteens and satellite television. The center is the U.S. military's only jungle warfare training ground. It has provided military personnel with an ideal setting for jungle training since 1958.
According to Suber, the Marines at the JWTC can now logon to the secure SemperComm Internet server and join discussion groups or chat privately with family and friends. SemperComm also donated televisions and movie projectors.
The Marines stationed at the JWTC have certainly appreciated SemperComm's generosity. "Life can get pretty boring out here in the jungle, and they have made it a whole lot better," Pfc. Aaron R. Mastro said.
SemperComm continues to evaluate other remote military installations lacking basic communications and entertainment tools in order to provide them with the appropriate resources.
"CSCI is very excited about our partnership with the USO," LaRoche said. "This is a life-long commitment to making a difference in the lives of those who protect our nation, our freedom and our lives."