Fort Bliss, TX (KDBC) — Fifteen Soldiers graduated from a Signal Digital Master Gunner Course held at the Signal Center of Excellence at East Fort Bliss, March 18.
“The SDMG training helps signal noncommissioned officers, working in tactical operations centers, gain a better understanding of the complexity of the jobs they are asked to do”, said Lt. Col. John Batson, assistant chief of staff, G6, 1st Armored Division. “It provides them with the skill set necessary to become subject matter experts on integrating multiple mission command systems.”
The five-week course, usually taught at Fort Gordon, Ga., was provided here for Fort Bliss Soldiers at the SCE.
“It took about a year to go from concept to execution,” said Batson. “I approached Fort Gordon about [sending instructors], but their student load did not [allow it]. We [then] asked
U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command through their training support division if it could be done.”
“The reason we wanted to do [this course] on Fort Bliss … is the cost associated with sending fifteen noncommissioned officers on temporary duty for five weeks far exceeds what we were able to do … through the SCE,” said Batson. “We were able to get NCOs trained to standard at a much lower cost.”
The Fort Bliss SCE is a government organization that trains, assists and organizes all signal training at Fort Bliss for signal Soldiers, said Ben Williams, commandant of the Team Bliss Signal Center of Excellence. “We’re the link from the actual signal school at Fort Gordon.”
“Lieutenant Colonel [John] Batson had the vision and asked me if it could happen,” said Williams. “[After] research and collaboration, [we found] it was extremely cheaper to have the course here. Twenty different classes were given in five weeks; several different instructors came from Fort Campbell, [Ky.], Fort Carson, [Colo.], CECOM and locally from Fort Bliss.”
“At the beginning of the class, brigades sent their top signal leaders to take an entrance exam … only the top fifteen people got in the class,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ali Long, student from the course and noncommissioned officer in charge, G6, Tactical Assault Command, 1st Armored Division.
“Because it’s not an entry level course, you [must] have so much knowledge [prior to] the class; it doesn’t start at the bottom and work its way up. It starts at the top and makes you even more proficient.”
This course allows for more efficient trouble shooting and deployment of communication systems – it’s an overall understanding of everything, said Sgt. Charles W. Parr III, a brigade net operations Soldier at 15th Sustainment Brigade.
“It gave [students] a detailed view of how the data flows from one end user over the wide area network to the other end user,” added Parr. “The course [allows students to go] back to the unit and train signal Soldiers of all ranks to be more proficient in their duties.”
“This was high intense training, and a lot of the Soldiers have never worked on this equipment at all, [but]we had a very successful course,” said Capt. James Garnett, G6 Plans, 1st Armored Division Headquarters, and one of the course planners.