Unit From Puerto Rico Keeps Communications Connected
By Sgt. 1st Class Darren D. Heusel, USA
American Forces Press Service
CAMP EGGERS, Afghanistan, Apr. 20, 2005 Sporting hard hats, goggles, earplugs and assorted power tools, members of the Army Reserve's 807th Signal Company, from Puerto Rico, have hit the ground running in Afghanistan.
Army Spc. Rafael Correa, of Anasco, Puerto Rico, marks where holes will be drilled on a strip of material that will house new wiring for phones and computer systems in the Lone Star West building on Camp Eggers, Afghanistan. Correa is a member of the 807th Signal Company, out of Camp Euripides Rubio in Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Darren D. Heusel, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The 807th, whose primary mission here is to enhance the communication capabilities of the coalition, has been working long hours in Afghanistan's capital city since arriving Jan. 15 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The 210-member unit from Camp Euripides Rubie in Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico, is also performing missions in Kandahar, Karshi-Khanabad, Kuwait and Baghdad.
"Once we arrived at Kabul Compound, our first priority was to upgrade the technical control facility," said Army Sgt. Ricardo Arroyo Rivera, of Toa Alta, Puerto Rico.
The new technical control facility will house all the electronics equipment necessary to transmit communications signals on Camp Eggers and the surrounding area, said Army Sgt. 1st Class Pablo Galletti, noncommissioned officer in charge of the reconstruction project and 807th member.
From there, the Kabul crew moved on to their next projects -- installing plastic conduits to hold new telephone lines and cables for classified and unclassified computer systems at two other facilities.
Overseeing the project is the 25th Signal Battalion's 580th Signal Company's Direct Signal Support Team out of Doha, Qatar. The DSST is responsible for providing voice, secure and non-secure communications systems to six locations within the Kabul area, said Sgt. 1st Class William Langley, DSST NCOIC.
The 25th's higher headquarters is made up of military personnel and civilian contractors from the Network Enterprise Technical Command, out of Fort Huachuca, Ariz., one of the Army's three major signal commands.
"The experience has been good so far," said Arroyo, who got his start in the communications business by working for a telephone company back in Puerto Rico. "We get a lot of demands and it keeps us busy, but everyone seems to be happy with our performance."
Arroyo said the only difference between what he's doing now and what he was doing for the telephone company is that his crews basically do everything start to finish -- including installing the conduit and all the associated wiring.
Spc. William Entzminger Jr., who joined the 807th as a "filler" from Richmond, Va., said the experience to this point has been a good one. "The work can be stressful at times, but we feel like we're being productive," he said. "The experience has brought us closer together as a unit.
"It's also been an eye-opening experience for me personally, because I never thought I'd be doing what I'm doing," said Entzminger. "During my (advanced individual training), I worked mainly on telephones, and over here we're involved in the entire construction of the project."
Once the 807th has completed its mission at Camp Eggers, the team is expected to move on to other projects at the U.S. Embassy and Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul.
(Army Sgt. 1st Class Darren D. Heusel is assigned to the 105th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)