Reservists Conduct Communications Exercises

Communication is key in any successful relationship and the same holds true during wartime and crises.

The National Guard is practicing new communication techniques.

Protecting the country takes more than guns and weapons. The United States National Guard is also using phones and radios.

Captain Adrian Johnson, with the146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion says, "We will be able to provide the battlefield commanders with communication, video, voice conference, everything; secure on the battlefield in order for the war fighters to fight the war."

The 146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, based out of Jacksonville, Florida is conducting an extensive communications exercise this weekend.

They will be testing the National Guard’s capabilities for wartime missions and homeland defense.

One group is set up near the Live Oak Airport and is practicing with the new high-tech equipment by communicating with companies set up in Starke, Marianna and Quincy.

"The tropospheric equipment can provide communications up to 200 miles; and the satellite communications can provide secure communication anywhere in the world," explains Captain Johnson.

The mobile communications unit is also useful during natural disasters. It has two generators, allows a soldier to communicate with local, state and federal government officials, and can be set up within 15 minutes.

SSGT Preston Cornett, also with the146th Expeditionary Signal Battalion says, "They learned a big lesson when [Hurricane] Katrina came in. They had several different emergency response teams coming in from all different regions of the United States. The biggest problem they ran into was everybody had their own independent communication systems. They couldn't talk to each other."

In any crisis, the guard says open lines of communication could make all the difference.

The communications exercise runs through Sunday afternoon.