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Services Unite to Provide Cobra Gold Communications

By Spc. Daisy Bueno, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, Thailand, May 18, 2000 – An integral part in any deployment is communications. Service members must be able to communicate with each other to get the mission accomplished.

U.S. armed forces here are working jointly to ensure smooth, efficient communications at Exercise Cobra Gold 2000 here. Across the street from the Combined/Joint Task Force building, the Joint Communication Control Center engineers, manages and controls all communication circuits and systems. It is responsible for installing, operating, and maintaining communication links for the entire exercise.

One of these many units is 7th Communication Battalion's Support Company. It provides a satellite links to Fort Buckner, Okinawa, Japan, and another communication team in northern Thailand. This year the unit added video teleconferencing to its repertoire.

The 804th Signal Company, an Army Reserve unit from Fort Shafter, Hawaii, primarily supports unit and exercise commanders with telephone communications. The soldiers in this unit installed cable and wiring in the buildings here to allow service members to communicate with other units in the exercise and their home bases.

"I'm proud that we're part of this exercise and are able to come out here and support the communication part of the exercise," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Grant, operations noncommissioned officer, 804th Signal Co. "Being from a Reserve unit, we like to be here with the active components."

The 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion out of Fort Bragg, N.C., is the only signal battalion that supports joint special operations missions. They deploy in a smaller force with a minimum amount of equipment.

"My switch (a controller for telephones) is different because it provides secure and nonsecure voice communication, data communication through the Internet, as well as video teleconferencing," said Army Sgt. Alen Shulze, switch team chief for the 112th.

Although these signal units have different missions during Cobra Gold, there is one thing they have in common: the effects of weather.

Service members in each section said their biggest obstacles in Thailand are heat and humidity. However, they also agreed that the different environment helps assure the equipment will work properly in various climates.

Learning to overcome these types of obstacles and learning to work with their counterparts in other U.S. forces are just ways service members here are taking advantage of the training opportunities available during Cobra Gold 2000.

(Army Spc. Daisy Bueno is assigned to the Cobra Gold Combined/Joint Information Bureau, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand.)

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