War on Terrorism

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Maryland Guard members keep radios 'on air'

By Army 1st Lt. Matthew Roskam
4th Sustainment Brigade

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq (6/14/11) – Sometimes we take our ability to communicate for granted until the ability is taken away.

Soldiers from the communications and electronics section of the 1729th Forward Support Maintenance Company, 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, help to ensure that communication is kept up and running for everyone who needs it.

The 1729th FSMC, an Army National Guard unit from Havre De Grace, Md., is composed of several sections capable of fixing almost everything in the Army’s inventory of equipment.

The C&E section is a vital section within the unit, tasked with maintaining and repairing everything from vehicle radio systems to communication towers.

The skill-sets held by the members of this section are not ones that you will find in most units and are highly technical, dealing with circuitry, computer chips, radio waves and microwaves.

“This is a great opportunity for the 1729th C&E shop to improve upon military occupation specialties skills, but also to conduct our wartime mission,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Derrick Hayes, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the C&E section.

Outside of this deployment the Soldiers don’t have the opportunity to use their skill sets as often as they would like and take advantage of any opportunity they have to practice.

They spend most of their time in the shop troubleshooting faulty equipment, testing, replacing, reprogramming and adjusting parts as necessary. Most of the work in the C&E shop comes in the form of repairing radio components such as speakers, handsets, headsets, radio mounts, amplifiers or antennas.

“I am what I am; and I do what I can,” said Army Sgt. Christopher Forner, a radio repairer with the 1729th FSMC. “I love fixing military equipment and care about what I do for the 1729th.”

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