By Army Pfc. Evan Loyd
Special to American Forces Press Service
Nov. 21, 2008 - Navy Cmdr. Ed Fischer and Air Force 1st Lt. E.J. Wong would seem to be out of place in an Army heavy brigade combat team conducting operations in Iraq.
Fischer, whose career field is nuclear engineering, and Wong, an air battle manager, are electronic warfare officers for the 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, and they play a critical role in ensuring the safety of brigade soldiers.
"We maintain, field and upgrade the electronic countermeasures throughout the brigade," Wong, a San Francisco native, said.
Electronic warfare officers keep soldiers safe by ensuring that electronic equipment designed to counter enemy tactics -- such as the Warlock system, which protects soldiers from roadside bombs -- is maintained and working properly.
With electronic threats to the U.S. military evolving constantly, the means of fighting that threat must change to keep up, Wong explained.
Prior to arriving to the unit, Fischer said, he wasn't sure what to expect as a naval officer joining the ranks of an Army unit.
"Since I've arrived, I feel like I have been accepted well," the Washington, N.C., native said. "I've never once felt like I don't belong. I feel like I am a part of the team, and in the same sense, I am treated like I am a part of the team."
Wong, who served in Iraq in previous deployments as an air weapons officer, volunteered to deploy again with less than a week's notice.
"We're all part of one big American team, and I've been accepted really well," he said. "It's been great getting the first-hand experience while being out here with the 2nd BCT."
Wong studied electronic warfare at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., for a month, learning the fundamentals of basic radio and radar theory. His training culminated in hands-on training in Warlock operations and maintenance.
This expertise is invaluable to ensure soldiers are not harmed while operating in their sector, he said.
(Army Pfc. Evan Loyd serves with the 1st Armored Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team.)