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Feature Stories

NEWS | July 16, 2019

U.S. Army, Kuwait Land Forces Signal Soldiers Conduct Joint Training

By Sgt. Liane Hatch 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division

U.S. Soldiers from the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and Kuwait Land Forces Soldiers worked together on radio retransmission over the course of three weeks, further developing their signal skill sets and building upon an ongoing U.S.-Kuwaiti partnership.

Using a crawl, walk, run model, three RETRANS teams from the 588th Brigade Engineer Battalion’s Charlie Company spent the latter part of June and the first half of July preparing for “Brigade Signal Stakes,” a final validating event, which took place from July 10-12. Each team tested separately and demonstrated expertise on required tasks, including security operations, camouflage and concealment, call for fire, and established the Quick Erect Antenna Mast that enables radio frequency modulation.

Radio retransmission allows for communication between radios that are too far apart to communicate directly, said 2nd Lt. Kaylin Armstrong, the RETRANS platoon leader.

“RETRANS teams enable communication across a greater distance on the battlefield,” she said. “It’s crucial for ensuring we can talk to each other and achieve mission success.”

Throughout the build-up training, approximately 10 Soldiers from the Kuwait Land Forces joined the RETRANS Soldiers to observe and participate, and on July 10, they came to watch the RETRANS teams in action during the validation event in the Al-Jahra desert.

“We were eager to participate in this training, and we appreciated the invitation from our U.S. partners,” said KLF Lt. Col. Abdul Aziz Al-Osaimi, a signal officer. “There is value in training together – first, to give us experience so that we can understand each other, so that when there are training events and operations in the future, we can support each other and configure our comms,” he said.

Though Al-Osaimi said that though the technology the two militaries use differs, the training and operational procedures were similar, and were familiar to his troops, who appreciated the opportunity to learn more about RETRANS operations, from reconnaissance and site selection to standards and discipline.

The U.S. Soldiers also benefitted from the training, which required them to combine basic Soldier skills with the communications expertise expected as part of their occupational specialty.

Army Pvt. Jonathon Bryant, a radio maintainer operator in the platoon, who arrived from Advanced Individual Training in March, said the Stakes training gave him the hands-on experience he needed in order to perform his job. He also said the training took him from theoretical understanding of basic principles to practical application and gave him greater confidence in his individual level skills.

“This was my first time getting to do my job in a tactical setting and scenario,” he said. “We spent a lot of time in the classroom learning the basic principles and fundamentals, followed by a more hands-on approach, and then the validation. That was big for me because when I got to the unit, I didn’t even know what a QEAM was; we trained on a different system in AIT, so this has all been new to me.”

After the three 588th RETRANS teams validated their own skills, the company planned further training throughout July and into August in order to validate six RETRANS teams from each of the battalions in the brigade.