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Engineers install sheltered trailer radio tower
aluma tower - army communication
278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Tennessee National Guard, Communication NCO oversees two soldiers manning guide lines while the 100 foot extendable radio tower is raised to increase communication range for training operations with 188th Infantry Brigade on Camp Shelby. - photo by Photo by Capt. Kurt E. Van Slooten
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. - Soldiers from 1st Army Division East and 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment were able to extend their FM radio communication range by 20 miles, doubling its current range using a pair of antennas installed on the Army's first Aluma Tower.
Three soldiers and two noncommissioned officers from the 278th were guided through the process of lowering the tower, installing antennas and raising the tower again by Sgt. 1st Class Delmar O. Olson, a communications NCO from the 188th Infantry Brigade.
This is not only an opportunity to provide training to his soldiers said Master Sgt. Donald A. Blaylock, 278th's regimental communication NCO, but it also improves the safety of the convoy training lanes.
As 278th ACR, Tennessee National Guard, undergoes its mission readiness exercises over the next few weeks, in preparation for its upcoming deployment to Iraq, good communication throughout the training area will be crucial.
The 188th Infantry Brigade from Fort Stewart and Fort Gillem, currently providing pre-deployment training for the 278th ACR, is the owner of the trailer-mounted, extendable, retransmission capable radio tower.
"This tower is great because it allows us to set-up quickly, using a broad range of radio devices, to provide essential communication throughout the battle space," said Carl Strickland, 188th Infantry communication officer.
It is unique in the Army's fleet of equipment and provides added benefits over the typical Army retransmission radio tower. Easily transportable and quickly deployable the trailer also provides a temperature controlled shelter for equipment and personnel if needed to man the tower.
Traditionally, three soldiers would be tasked with manning a retransmission site. In its current configuration, the retransmission site at Camp Shelby is able to function unmanned and only requires minimal supervision, which enables soldiers to participate in other training necessary to maintain proficiency in their assignments.
The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve formations. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th has been training deploying National Guard and Reserve units for Iraq deployments continuously since 2003.

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