Battalions of 1st Signal Brigade conduct 'fiber university' training
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- The 36th Signal Battalion and 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion of the 1st Signal Brigade conducted joint fiber optics training at Camp Humphreys, South Korea July 8-11.
A small group of Soldiers from both battalions participated in a variety of courses and training exercises revolved around familiarization, hands-on experience and understanding of fiber optics communications; a backbone in the communications networks in South Korea.
Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Rutley, the noncommissioned officer in charge for outside plans, 501st Signal Company, 36th Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade, was the main instructor for the fiber university. Rutley said, "When I first got here, we heard about some people doing the fiber optics training and fiber university, so the commander and I wanted to keep that tradition going and now we try to do it quarterly."
The fiber optics training allows Soldiers to refresh themselves with concepts and troubleshooting of fiber optics communication cables. Rutley said throughout the week of training, Soldiers learned how to troubleshoot fiber optics, understand the differences between multimode and single mode characteristics and become familiar with the different types of connectors.
"We use our test equipment for the fiber optics to service an outage, fix it and then test it again to make sure it is 100 percent ready to go," Rutley explained. "Using the proper equipment, safety guidelines and quality assurance techniques are things we go over during the training so they know how to properly ground and secure when they actually get out there working."
Pvt. Hepuaona Lani Keali'i Kane Sellers, a cable system installer and maintainer, Charlie Company, 304th ESB, 1st Signal Brigade, participated in the training and said that the basics of fiber optics were covered during the fiber university. "We go over what fiber optics is, different wavelength types, how fiber optics works, the different types of cables we use, safety practices and how and why we use manholes," Sellers said.
Throughout Camp Humphreys, miles of fiber optic communication cables run beneath the streets and surface. "We use manholes so that it will be easier for us to get communications from one place to another," Sellers explained, "so when we do have to work on them it won't be affecting traffic or anything, because we are underground."
Pfc. Brent Massey, a nodal network operator and maintainer, Charlie Company, 304th ESB, 1st Signal Brigade, got the chance to expand his knowledge of the Signal world by participating in the fiber optics training. "This training has been a great opportunity for me," Massey said. "It's important for someone like me to learn this material and training in case we ever run across a problem with fiber optics, I will be familiar with it. I've enjoyed this training and look forward to other cross training opportunities with the instructors from the other battalion, because they are very knowledgeable and helpful."
With a combined total of 35-years of experience, Rutley and his NCO team provided their young Soldiers with knowledge and information during the fiber university training to help make them better at their jobs. "It is good to keep their minds fresh, especially with the tactical Soldiers," Rutley said. "I am teaching them things they don't get to see every day and I am proud to say that. The Soldiers have been very good and I am having a good time teaching them; that's what I do as an NCO."