By Army Sgt. Jeremy Todd
Special to American Forces Press Service
Nov. 5, 2008 - Selected soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team and Multinational Division Baghdad received electronic warfare training here. Electronic warfare applies the radio frequency spectrum to defeat an enemy and save lives on the battlefield. Improvised explosive devices are the biggest threat to coalition and Iraqi forces, and defeating that threat is the biggest concern for leaders, explained Navy Lt. Christopher Winters, the 4th Infantry Division's electronic warfare training officer from Waterville, Maine.
Though military electronic warfare specialists are in the Air Force or the Navy, the Army soon will offer the career field to soldiers.
"This is something the Army needs to be concerned about," said Air Force Maj. Jason Eckberg, an electronic warfare officer for Multinational Division Baghdad, who hails from Las Vegas.
The Army will add electronic warfare specialist to its collection of military occupational specialties in 2010, he said, adding that the soldiers attending the here will be among the first to attain the new MOS.
"This job offers the soldiers a sense of pride; it is a very important to them," Eckberg said. "The most important factor of this job is the care and maintenance of the equipment. The components of the counter-IED systems are extremely intricate and must be cared for by trained personnel."
Eckberg said training soldiers at the lowest possible level ensures mission stability and offers leaders the capability to assign the responsibility to the company level.
Civilian technicians and military officers conducted the electronic warfare workshop here, which entailed 40 hours of hands-on training. Fourteen soldiers from throughout Multinational Division Baghdad attended the class. The 18th military Police Brigade, based out of Sandhofen, Germany, sponsored the training.
"I am extremely excited to learn a new skill – especially one that will save soldiers' lives," said Army Sgt. Nicholas Hoffert, a Bismarck, N.D., native assigned to 191st MP Battalion.
"This skill will save time on the battlefield as well," he said. "We will no longer have to wait in line to fix a fault in the system. We will be the on-site technician for most problematic issues that may arise."
(Army Sgt. Jeremy Todd serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 10th Mountain Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)