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Keeping the data flowing

Post by Scott Fontaine on Jan. 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
January 12, 2010 11:02 pm

TALLIL, Iraq – Modern warfare is a high-tech affair.

The 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade’s smallest company keeps the data flowing.

With soldiers fanned out to about 38 locations across the country, the intelligence unit relies on its 63rd Network Support Company to keep everyone connected.

“The world is getting more and more technical, and the Army is no different,” said Sgt. 1st Class Landi Whiteside. “The military intelligence work relies pretty heavily on communications to talk to the teams that go out across the country.”

The kinds of equipment the company uses – for security reasons, the classified technology can’t be described in detail – is “pretty cutting-edge stuff,” Sgt. 1st Class James DeVore said.

“It’s so advanced, many of our instructors didn’t really have a grasp of what is going on,” the 33-year-old Centralia native said.
Much of the hardware sits in the back of an armored Humvee. Series of wires run from the vehicle, and inside sit servers, routers, switches and other hardware. The data stream is in constant communication with the American military headquarters at Victory Base Complex in Baghdad.

About 45 soldiers serve with the unit, less than a third of the size of most Army companies. That means eight-hour shifts around the clock and no days off, Whiteside said.

And when the data fails, it sparks a scramble to fix it as quickly as possible.

“(My section) runs on me, my officer in charge and another guy,” said Whiteside, a 27-year-old North Dakota native. “Needless to say, it can get pretty stressful at times.”

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