Soldiers from units across the 1st Infantry Division competed at the Fort Riley Mission Training Complex in the first Danger Voice Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Challenge Aug. 18-22, and a 13-Soldier team from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team walked away with the title.
The competition provided an occasion for signal Soldiers from various 1st Inf. Div. units to compete against each other while enforcing valuable skills needed to help their units communicate.
“This was an opportunity to have the brigades come together and do some esprit de corps and some camaraderie and some training on their equipment,” said Sgt. 1st Class Christine Bissonnette, a Worcester, Massachusetts, native assigned to Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Inf. Div.
As the units came together for the challenge, the Soldiers were able to identify which aspects would help them or hinder them, both as teams and as individuals.
“Today we found that a lot of the Soldiers were able to find out what their strengths and their weaknesses were, so it was a good training experience for them to come out here and do this challenge,” said Bissonnette, the WIN-T noncommissioned officer in charge of the competition.
The challenge consisted of four events: a 45-question written exam and three events related to assembling different communications systems — the joint network node, command post node and high capacity line of sight systems. These systems are an essential element used by units across the Army for voice and digital communications networks.
Sgt. Kevin Johnson, 267th Signal Company, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Inf. Div., was one of the noncommissioned officers for the 1st Sust. Bde.’s team. Johnson could be seen running from Soldier to Soldier shouting and encouraging his teammates during the competition.
“We were pumped up,” said Johnson, who is from Saint Joseph, Missouri. “We were all motivated right off the bat and everybody knew their tasks so we were all task-oriented and ready to go.”
Although the teams conducted training in preparation for the competition, some of the systems in the competition were relatively new for some Soldiers.
“Today some of the Soldiers got on systems they don’t usually get on,” Bissonnette said. “These Soldiers had to dig deep to remember and go back to the basics. They are used to getting into their everyday shelter that they get in time and time again, having the call manager already configured and then just going in and simply changing a few IP addresses or something to make it work. Well, today that wasn’t the case. They had to actually remember how to configure these (systems).”
Some Soldiers who recently graduated advanced individual training, such as Pvt. Kornisha Sutton of Washington, D.C., used the competition to hone their newly acquired skills.
“Today my team was supposed to set up the HCLOS,” said Sutton, a multichannel transmission system operator/maintainer from 258th Network Support Company, 100th Brigade Support Battalion, 75th Fires Brigade. “I just came out of AIT, so I didn’t really have a lot of training on this. The competition is very beneficial, especially for someone who is just coming out of AIT.”
According to the mission statement for Project Manager Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, WIN-T designs, acquires, fields and supports fully integrated and cost effective tactical networks and services that meet Soldier capability needs while sustaining a world-class workforce.
“We are just here trying to make sure that when we are called that we are able to do our part and enable the mission command,” said Capt. Marni Prenell, a native of Chicago, Illinois, and officer in charge of the challenge. “This is a training event to make sure that we are ready and to get bragging rights because I want to be the best.”
The winner of the competition gained boasting rights and the honor of adding a streamer to its unit guidon.
“If you can’t talk, you can’t win and you can’t talk without us,” Prenell said.
Danger Voice Warfighter Information Network-Tactical Challenge winners:
4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
Sgt. Daniel Hastry, Brigade Special Troops Battalion
Spc. Marvin Carson, BSTB
Spc. Marlone Lanham, BSTB
Sgt. Christian Worthen, BSTB
Spc. Charles Robert Kelsey, BSTB
Spc. Lambren Moore, BSTB
Spc. Fernando Velezramirez, BSTB
Staff Sgt. William Jungerman, BSTB
Pfc. Joel Gonzalez, BSTB
Pfc. Sean Lucas, BSTB
Staff Sgt. Lee Sanders, BSTB
Pfc. Josh Johnson, BSTB
Spc. Matthew Myles, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment