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US Soldiers transfer authority for Atlantic Resolve Signal support mission in Poland

US Soldiers transfer authority for Atlantic Resolve Signal support mission in Poland

Story by William King on 02/05/2019

BOLESLAWIEC, Poland A Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority (RIP/TOA) ceremony Jan. 23, 2019, in Boleslawiec, Poland, marked the end of a nine-month deployment for one U.S. Army Signal company and the beginning for another.

During the ceremony, Bravo Company, 151st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 228th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, South Carolina National Guard, cased its guidon and transferred authority to Alpha Company, 67th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 35th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, which arrived in early January from Fort Gordon, Georgia.

From its base in Boleslawiec, the rotational company provides additional expeditionary Signal capacity and capabilities to U.S. Army Europe and the 2d Theater Signal Brigade supporting the Atlantic Resolve mission and multinational exercises across Europe.

U.S. Army Capt. Daniel Taylor, commander of B Co., 151st ESB, said his company conducted 32 tactical Signal missions throughout eight countries in Europe during its nine-month deployment, enhancing the training and readiness of both his unit and U.S. Army Europe.

“I think us being a National Guard unit and working together with the 2d Theater Signal Brigade and the 44th (Expeditionary Signal Battalion) has been outstanding, allowing us to come together as a multi-compo team for a Strong Europe,” Taylor explained.

He said more than 50 of his Soldiers also took classes and exams to receive information technology certifications, including CompTIA Security , during the deployment.

“The enhanced certifications allow them to meet the security requirements for their jobs in the military, but it will also help them in their civilian careers back home,” Taylor explained.

U.S. Army Sgt. James Carter, the B Co., 151st ESB operations noncommissioned officer in charge, said the Soldiers got a lot of hands-on training during the deployment, which enhanced their individual skills and collective readiness.

“These guys got to get down in the weeds of their systems and actually work through problems, troubleshoot, and become a stronger Signal Soldier all around,” Carter said.

While deployed to Europe the rotational Signal company augments the 44th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 2d Theater Signal Bde., which is the only permanently assigned ESB in Europe. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Heather McAteer, commander of the 44th ESB, described the partnership with B Co., 151st ESB, as absolutely outstanding.

“The talent and skills that they brought with them as a National Guard unit have resulted in the most creative solutions to the most complex problems and set the conditions for success for future rotations. They have been great ambassadors for America, and for South Carolina specifically, and we really look forward to working with them again,” McAteer said.

Following the RIP/TOA ceremony she presented a total of 14 Army Commendation Medals and 74 Army Achievement Medals to the South Carolina National Guard Soldiers for their exceptional service throughout the nine-month deployment.

McAteer said she expects A Co., 67th ESB to build upon the relationships and positive momentum B Co, 151st ESB established and continue to support tactical expeditionary missions throughout Europe.

U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Bryan Corbett, the senior enlisted leader assigned to A Co., 67th ESB, said the unit went through an intense 90-day train up period to prepare for its deployment to Europe.

“We had a few battalion- and brigade-level training exercises at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and at Fort Gordon, Georgia, where we worked on validating our teams to be successful here in the European theater,” he said.

Corbett said the company’s goal is to always provide superb communications to supported units, and that he expects his junior leaders to step up to the challenges associated with living and working overseas.

“Now is their time to gain that experience, if they haven’t already been deployed and been separated in an austere environment supporting allied nations they have to step up,” Corbett said.

One of those junior leaders is U.S. Army Spc. Demetrius Chavez, a vehicle mechanic and the company guidon bearer. Originally from Arizona, Chavez said this is his first time overseas.

“I’m looking forward to gain experience with my job in the field and just being in another country,” he said.

For the National Guard Soldiers returning home to South Carolina, the parting is bittersweet. Taylor said his Soldiers became part of the local community in Boleslawiec, participating in several holiday events and even helping a local orphanage, and will miss the European culture and Polish hospitality.

“The Poles on base and in the community have been wonderful and really brought us into their community. It’s really a true partnership between NATO allies here,” Taylor said.

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