Camp Bondsteel, the primary base for the U.S. Army under Kosovo Forces Command (KFOR) needs to maintain an optimum communications network in a dangerous part of the world. To stay connected in that region, KFOR deploys a team to make the rounds of the eight to ten radio towers that keep soldiers talking. An official U.S. Army publication provided more information about those who inspect, maintain and service these overseas towers.
“We check the [uninterrupted power supply], how many times the system has been up or down, and then the radio functionality at each location,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Rod Widows. Widows is a signal support systems specialist with the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard. “Each location is a relay tower site so that we can talk on mobile radios throughout the country,” he added.
The land mobile radios used by the military are considered to be more reliable than cell phones, making radio tower maintenance essential. Teams operate year round, on a rotating basis. Mike Cassel, the lead technician for land mobile radio maintenance and support department of DynCorp, notes that the radios have encryption capabilities and better range than traditional cell phones. Cassel stressed the importance of understanding one’s equipment and shares his troubleshooting expertise with the U.S. soldiers in the official Army newsletter.