Story by 1st Lt. Nikki McWilliams
228th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade
EASTOVER, SOUTH CAROLINA – After the terrorists’ attack on the U.S. homeland Sept. 11, 2001, the role of the National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve escalated quickly to augment the active component as they mobilized around the world. In the South Carolina National Guard alone, more than 19,000 Soldiers and Airmen have answered the call and deployed overseas for the Global War of Terror. With the ever-changing global threats, commanders in today’s operational environment have had to rethink training strategies to meet mission readiness that focus on the “Total Force” concept.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen Robert E. Livingston, Jr., Adjutant General of South Carolina, and U.S. Army Col. David Jenkins, 228th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade (TTSB) commander, met with U.S. Army Col. Jeff Worthington, 2nd Signal Brigade commander, and U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory D. Rowland, U.S. Army European Command, to discuss sustainable readiness while their units look ahead to partner during operations such as “Atlantic Resolve” and “Saber Guardian”. The gathering was held March 11-12, 2017 at the McCrady Training Center in Eastover, South Carolina, during a scheduled training event for the 228th TTSB.
Several areas were identified during the partnership discussion with which the South Carolina Army National Guard Soldiers from the 228th TTSB will be able to help the active component 2nd Signal Brigade meet their operational needs and goals by participating in future events.
The South Carolina Army National Guard would add value “by being a different set of eyes and bringing a different way of doing things,” said Rowland.
These areas include helping to deploy improved and more secure operating systems throughout existing networks, installing modernized network infrastructure architecture, and providing support to network operations exercises.
Jenkins said that supporting the Total Force Concept is one of the main areas the 228th is focused on.
“We need to support the One Army concept with the things we discuss here,” said Jenkins.
There were several avenues that were discussed which will allow the 228th TTSB to support these efforts by providing Soldiers of various sized elements to go on active duty for rotations of short, medium and long-term durations.
Worthington spoke during the engagement of the Five Pillars that support the Army in Europe’s enduring priorities of Enhancing the Alliance, Leader Development and Readiness, which includes; Empowering Junior Leaders, Army Reserve and National Guard support, Allies and Partners, Regionally Allocated Forces and Dynamic Presence.
“I believe that it’s not just our partnership that developed over a year ago, but it’s empowering junior leaders, letting our young E-5’s and E-6’s drive around Europe, and enabling the alliance,” said Worthington. “I really do appreciate the working relationship we have with the 228th and with your state.”
Recently, the South Carolina National Guard’s 125th Multi-Role Bridge Company supported Saber Guardian in Romania, the 742nd Support Maintenance Company deployed to support the 16th Sustainment Brigade in Europe and engineer and signal Soldiers are preparing to mobilize this spring for Atlantic Resolve.
“We’re looking for this,” said Livingston. “Our people get into this business because they want to do something useful and they want to be relevant. They want to make a difference in this world.”
The Soldiers in the 228th TTSB have experienced their share of “answering the call,” both overseas and during events in South Carolina. More than 30 of their Soldiers have been deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan since June 2016, another 40 troops are supporting in the Horn of Africa, and during Hurricane Matthew this past fall, signal Soldiers set up critical communications assets to assist first responders along the South Carolina coast.
“I’m excited about it,” said Livingston. “I think this is what partnerships should be.”