U.S. ARMY GARRISON GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Without the 1st Combat Communications Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany and the 35th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Charlie Company, Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico, Combined Endeavor 2012 could not happen.
They are responsible for setting up, maintaining and breaking down the command and control , or C2, network and core network to support this exercise.
“We are providing the backbone for the C2 network, which is the network that is used to administer the exercise here,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Sara Reinbold, Local Area Network, C2 Network officer in charge.
In order to support the backbone for the C2 network, the 1st CCS brought everything required to establish the network.
“To establish the backbone for the network, we first need an uninterruptable power source, or UPS, in case we lose power we can still maintain the network,” said Reinbold. “We have physical and virtual servers to provide things like mail exchange so people can email. We also have a proxy server and a firewall.”
The captain explained that each element needs to be in place in order for a network to exist on the C2 LAN.
“We also played a key role in extending the network and cabling drops for the core network which is the actual test network,” said Reinbold.
Reinbold explained the differences between the C2 and core networks.
“Our C2 LAN is the network everybody uses to get on the internet and record test results and things like that, in short it’s your internet connection,” said Reinbold. “The core network is the actual test network for the exercise and it’s a closed network. Basically, countries use it to run tests amongst each other, like trying to email each other but they can’t actually use internet functions on it like using search engines. It’s a way to try and determine if the different nations’ systems are interoperable.”
The Airmen brought their own tactical equipment to support these networks.
“We brought our Network Control Center Deployed Heavy, and that’s providing the backbone for the C2 network,” said the Airman. “We also brought the Network Control Center Deployed Light, and that is what is providing our service in our air component command tent. We also brought High Frequency testing equipment that is used for radio equipment so we can run radio data voice tests.”
The last piece of equipment the 1st CCS brought with them is their newest unit type code.
“The UTC is a quick reaction, small communications package so it’s a scalable package we can send forward with distinguished visitors or a small element of people and we brought that for the DV day,” added the captain.
“While we support the Air Force’s role, the help desk and the administration side, our primary role is to set up Defense Switch Network (phone) lines and C2, core network lines,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Marcel Poulin, 35th ESB. “We lay the category five cables, which are like phone line cables, to connect the DSN lines.”
The 35th ESB brought testing equipment and printers for the participants in the exercise.
Between two rotations, the 35th ESB has 23 Soldiers that assisted the 1st CCS with the set up and the draw down.
“For the draw down, we have to collect the resources,” said the Jay, Maine, native. “The commander has a plan in place of which buildings we are going to start with first and working as two teams we’ll close one building at a time, until everything is done.”
Poulin said the Airmen and the Soldiers have to ensure all desktop and laptops that were used for the exercise are collected and accounted for along with the hard drives.
Poulin had high praise for Reinbold and her unit’s ability to maintain the network.
“As far as the mission and her group, Reinbold is very determined and never settles for no. No isn’t the answer, they found a way to make the answer yes. They made the mission happen, we’ve made the mission happen,” said Poulin.
“I have very high respect for the Air Force,” he added. “They are professionals and the 1st CCS has been excellent to work with; the commander is very flexible, but determined to get (our) mission accomplished.”
Combined Endeavor 2012 is the world’s largest multinational command, control, communications and computer systems exercise designed to build and enhance communications and network interoperability with 41 different nations and international organizations participating.