CLAY NATIONAL GUARD CENTER, Marietta, Georgia, March 3, 2013, By WO1 Jim Zegers – Troops from the Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) assisted the Georgia Army National Guard in a test of its tactical communications abilities. The tests were performed during a communications exercise (COMEX) during drill weekend. The Operations Company, 911th Support Battalion, 76th Support Brigade of the GSDF (OPSCO) supported units of the Georgia Army National Guard’s 78th Homeland Response Force (HRF) in testing satellite communication equipment. Tactical Assured Communications (TAC) Pack units, Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) units, iCOM FM radios, and a NG Harris HF portable radio were used during the test.
The TAC Pack is an assured communications kit for use in austere environments for a multitude of mission tasks. The packs are designed to provide tactical communications (voice, video and data) between the deployed TAC Pack unit and a link from remote locations to a central HQ. It provides mission critical capabilities to move information when operating in denied, dysfunctional, or disparate environments. The basic components of these units include: a notebook computer, printer, scanner, air card, webcam, portable video camera, battery supply, satellite dish and hard-shell transportable case. The VSAT is a small dish antenna that is used to transmit and receive data signal through a satellite.
In addition to equipment set up, OPSCO was tasked with providing liaison between the National Guard and the Cobb County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) which also participated in the exercise. Furthermore, OPSCO was tasked with providing assistance to the GSDF Communications Company and units of the Army National Guard.
Compliments were received from LTC Jeffrey Olive, JFHQ, regarding GSDF’s participation in the COMEX. In addition, CPT Bryan Halpern, HRF, expressed his appreciation for the GSDF assistance in VSAT setup and other assistance at his location. Both LTC Olive and CPT Halpern indicated that the GSDF is a very effective force-multiplier to the National Guard, especially for communications exercises.