CJTF-HOA tactical communication service members test gear, skills

Tactical communication experts assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa traversed rough terrain on foot and scaled 1,600 foot peaks to test radio equipment at the Arta Range Complex Jan. 18.



By Tech. Sgt. Shawn Nickel U.S. Air Force CJTF-HOA Jan 23, 2019
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ARTA RANGE, Djibouti -- Tactical communication experts assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa traversed rough terrain on foot and scaled 1,600 foot peaks to test radio equipment at the Arta Range Complex Jan. 18.

The joint teams of Soldiers, Sailors and Marines utilized the exercise to test various forms of radio equipment in case of a last-minute forward deployment.

“Any of us can be tasked at any time to support elements conducting combat operations in remote areas,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Kyle Sherwood, a TACOM operator assigned to CJTF-HOA. “We need these real-time workups to simulate situations we may encounter. If there is a mistake to be made or problems to identify, this is the place to do it. When we get downrange, we will be fully functional and have the experiences we learned in controlled environments to guide us.”

The teams identified shortfalls, such as missing equipment, and worked through them. In the end of the exercise, two peaks and a beach checkpoint were connected via radio and relayed back to home station at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. 

“Every single asset we support was tested today, and each one was successful,” Sherwood said.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Timothy Jaekel, the TACOM NCO in charge assigned to CJTF-HOA, said the biggest challenge during the operation was ensuring each piece of equipment in their wide range of gear was accounted for and tested. 

“Check, check again and recheck is the best way to ensure when the real deal happens, we are prepared,” Jaekel said.

Jaekel opted to allow Sherwood to plan and execute the exercise while only offering advice when needed. 

“The big reward in all this is seeing a group of mixed-branch service members with such a high level of proficiency come together,” Jaekel said. “That’s one of the unique parts of the line of work we are in, and each person brings strengths to the table that far surpass any weakness that will ever arise. These folks will adapt, overcome and persevere if anything stands in their way.”

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