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Surprise deployment drill at Fort Huachuca

Renewed emphasis on readiness
Posted at 6:28 PM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 21:28:32-04

FT. HUACHUCA, Ariz. - A communications unit at Fort Huachuca -- was called out on an emergency deployment early Wednesday morning. It was actually a drill - meant to check the readiness of the specialized unit.

The simulated deployment is part of a renewed emphasis on being ready to move units anywhere in the world on a moment's notice.

Phones started ringing for the soldiers of Bravo Company about Two AM with the order: get in, and get ready to deploy. Bravo is part of Fort Huachuca's 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion.

Its’ specialty is setting up setting up voice and internet communications anywhere in the world.

"We're like the Verizon for the Army, that's one way I can explain it." That’s how Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Shylo Morrison describes the unit’s mission. Colonel Morrison grew up in Sierra Vista. Now she commands an important unit in her old hometown.

She found out just after midnight, the Army was putting her people to the test.

"I think the soldiers get pretty excited because they actually get to go do their job. I think it's a sense of pride too to see how well the unit functions and how it comes together and we go out and show that we can do our job."

Bravo Company Commander Captain Thomas Lepread knows “expeditionary” means leading a unit built to move.

"So we are traveling we are moving and we're expected to get there in an expeditious fashion."

Photos from Fort Huachuca’s Public Affairs Office taken Wednesday afternoon show the soldiers and their equipment on the job with antennas deployed and pointing towards satellites.

Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, the commanding General of the Army, soon to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, effectively the commanding General of the entire U.S. military has been putting much more emphasis on readiness. He says the military needs to evolve from fighting in a lot of regional wars against terrorism to being ready for “near-peer” competitors. That is a description for the likes of Russia and China.

"I was the guy who helped design this exercise.,” says Major David Chamberlain from the Army's Three Corps in Fort Hood Texas. Now he'll judge how ready Bravo Company will be to react to the world's surprises.

"Nobody expected Iraq to go into Kuwait. And the next thing you know, they did. Nobody expected Russia to go into Georgia or the Ukraine when they did."

And Bravo Company is rolling out to be be sure there's strong communications if a conflict does break out.