By Story by Sgt. Dustin Biven
75th Field Artillery Brigade
It is often said that “communication is the key to success,” and while serving in the United States Army in a combat zone, that statement couldn’t be more accurate.
Whether the mission is to provide humanitarian aid to citizens impacted by natural disasters or to carry out surface-to-surface fire missions in combat zones against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terrorist organizations, the ability to communicate with one another remains vital.
For Sgt. James Whitlock, providing means of secure communication to the 75th Field Artillery Brigade, the world’s largest field artillery brigade, is just another day as a 25Q Multichannel Transmission Systems Operator-Maintainer.
Whitlock, who is currently deployed with the 75th FA “Diamond” Brigade somewhere in the Middle East, in the United States Army Central Command area of responsibility, has spent the last nine months improving the brigade’s ability to execute both mission command and command and control of forces arrayed across the Combined Joint Operations Area.
“During this deployment, I have had the ability to change the Army for the better,” said Whitlock.
“I have been able to not only learn new ways to operate and better my abilities, but I have also been able to pass on that newfound knowledge to others within and outside my unit in an effort to better the organization.”
As a result of Whitlock’s actions, the Diamond brigade maintained a pristine common operational picture throughout two of its biggest internal exercises, Operations Diamond Apex and Diamond Tempest.
The dual exercises tested the brigade’s ability to operate in a complex simulated combat environment.
During the training, soldiers had to maintain constant communication across multiple countries and even across continents to achieve the desired outcome.
“My job within the brigade is important due to its (full-spectrum warfighting capabilities as a deployable, combat brigade) and what we provide to the fight,” said Whitlock.
“I not only help to provide the necessary functionality of the unit through upper Tactical Internet communications services, but I also provide an alternate means of communications through my equipment’s line-of-sight capabilities.”
During the two operations, Whitlock and his communications section helped Joint Network Node (JNN) system and Command Post Node (CPN) operators with power generation, fueling, maintenance, and installing Category 5 Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) lines during tactical command dispersion operations.
While assisting in the sustainment of the JNN, CPN, and the installation of the SIPRNet lines, Whitlock also provided the brigade with high-capacity line-of-sight communications capabilities, to an extent the brigade had not experienced in more than two years.
For these and numerous other accomplishments, the United States Army Central Command Task Force Spartan identified Whitlock as its first-ever Warrior of the Month.
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION