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101st Airborne Division 2nd Brigade Soldiers First Warfighters to Sling Load TCN-Light

 

Written by 1st Lt. Daniel Johnson
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (AA) Public Affairs

2nd Brigade Combat Team - StrikeFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division

Fort Campbell, KY – Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and pilots from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, became the first Soldiers in the operational Army to sling load the Tactical Command Node-Light last week.

This training was done in preparation for the brigade’s upcoming rotation as part of the Network Integration Exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas, in July. At NIE 2BCT will validate new systems that will be fielded to the Army for future mission sets.

A CH-47 Chinook flown by Soldiers from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), sling loads the Tactical Control Node-Light at Fort Campbell, KY, Jun. 15, 2017. The training was part of 2nd Brigade, 101st’s preparation for the upcoming Network Integration Exercise at Fort Bliss, where they will be the first light BCT to participate. (Sgt. Bradford Alex)

A CH-47 Chinook flown by Soldiers from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), sling loads the Tactical Control Node-Light at Fort Campbell, KY, Jun. 15, 2017. The training was part of 2nd Brigade, 101st’s preparation for the upcoming Network Integration Exercise at Fort Bliss, where they will be the first light BCT to participate. (Sgt. Bradford Alex)

“The purpose of the training was to validate the TCN-Light in preparation for the sling load testing of the system at NIE,” said Master Sgt. Jarrod Gozy, support operations noncommissioned officer in charge, 526th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne.

“Sling loading the TCN-Light under field conditions is one of our validation tasks. This is the first time the system has sling loaded by a warfighter; we’re out here to ensure our techniques for transporting the system make operational and tactical sense,” Gozy stated.

The TCN provides satellite and line-of-sight network connectivity, both on-the-move in a convoy, at the quick halt, and to the stationary command post, enabling mission command and advanced communications as part of the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T). WIN-T enables mission command, communications and situational awareness through it systems.

U.S. Army Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) watch as a CH-47 Chinook flown by Soldiers from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne, sling loads the Tactical Control Node-Light at Fort Campbell, KY, Jun. 15, 2017. The training was part of 2BCT’s preparation for the upcoming Network Integration Exercise at Fort Bliss where they will be the first light BCT to participate. (Sgt. Bradford Alex)

U.S. Army Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) watch as a CH-47 Chinook flown by Soldiers from the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne, sling loads the Tactical Control Node-Light at Fort Campbell, KY, Jun. 15, 2017. The training was part of 2BCT’s preparation for the upcoming Network Integration Exercise at Fort Bliss where they will be the first light BCT to participate. (Sgt. Bradford Alex)

Great care was taken to ensure that the rigging of the vehicle was done correctly. All personnel who rigged and inspected the load were given advanced training and Pathfinders from the Sabalauski Air Assault School, where Soldiers throughout the 101st Airborne Division come to learn the basics of air assault operations, were also present.

“This training was done with personnel who graduated our recent sling load master qualification course,” said Gozy. “The pilots who flew today are also the same ones that will be with us at NIE, so this is really helpful in building those work relationships.”

As the U.S. Army’s only air assault division, the 101st is trained and equipped to conduct operations to rapidly move around the battlefield. The TCN-Light was designed to be used by light infantry and rapidly deployable units.

The TCN was originally developed on five-ton Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTVs). Lite (L) versions of the system, are integrated onto Humvees, which can be sling loaded from a helicopter for significantly increased agility and operational flexibility.

During 2BCT’s recent deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve they were required to set up expeditious locations and conduct operations in support of the Iraqi Security Forces that pushed the limits of their mission command systems.

In one operation Soldiers from 2BCT’s artillery unit conducted an air assault operation into new firing position in order to provide more accurate fire support.

U.S Army Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), move from under a CH-47 Chinook after successfully hanging up the Tactical Control Node-Light, at Fort Campbell, KY, Jun. 15, 2017. The training was part of the brigade preparation for the upcoming Network Integration Exercise at Fort Bliss, where they will be the first light BCT to participate. (Sgt. Bradford Alex)

U.S Army Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), move from under a CH-47 Chinook after successfully hanging up the Tactical Control Node-Light, at Fort Campbell, KY, Jun. 15, 2017. The training was part of the brigade preparation for the upcoming Network Integration Exercise at Fort Bliss, where they will be the first light BCT to participate. (Sgt. Bradford Alex)

Inserting their personnel, vehicles, and artillery pieces by utilizing aviation rotary assets and dropping them into position, the unit set up a fully functional fire base in the night without alerting the enemy. The TCN-Light’s purpose is to further enhance the capabilities of Soldiers on those types of missions.

”The ability to move the communications platform anywhere on the battlefield gives us greater reach back for our Soldiers and prevents us from culminating because we’re out running our communications capabilities,” said Gozy.

“In our recent deployment to Iraq when we were building tactical assembly areas (TAAs) and position areas for artillery, (PAAs), one of the issues was communication reach back. With this TCN-Light however we can sling load it as part of the tactical action center (TAC) or initial set up of a PAA/TAA and have full functionality. With the old TCN we’re limited in our mobility and where we can choose our mission command nodes to be,” stated Gozy.

Other Soldiers who tested the equipment were also impressed by the new system. The importance of having a communications node that could be taken anywhere, anytime, wasn’t lost on them.

“This definitely brings more versatility to our fighting force,” said Staff Sgt. Arik Browning, a signal Soldier with 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team., 101st Airborne. “This [system] gives us more range and lethality since we can now transport it over terrain that the larger TCN system couldn’t get through. The TCN is an integral part of the tactical operations center (TOC); if we can put this anywhere, we can put the TOC anywhere.”

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