An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Latest News : Article Display
NEWS | Nov. 16, 2023

56th SIG BN make communication in the jungle possible at SV24

By Staff Sgt. ShaTyra Reed-Cox

In the beginning of November, Staff Sgt. David Dixon and Sgt. Christopher Broomfield, signal operations support specialists, arrived in Brazil, for one reason and one reason only: keep military communications flowing in the Amazon jungle.

The two-man team from the 56th Signal Battalion is providing the communications heartbeat to U.S. Army South’s field training exercise in a remote location in Oiapoque during the final phase of Southern Vanguard 24.

“We are providing the tactical communications for U.S. forces to execute the mission,” said Dixon. “Communication will play a major role in this phase. We will ensure communications are sent from each and every echelon.”

They showed up on the scene and made it possible for everyone deploying to the Eastern Amazon jungle to communicate effectively. They provided tactical satellite radios, AN/PRC-117 Multiband Networking Manpack Radio as well as two forms of satellite radio phones, the Iridium satellite phone and SHOUT Nano.

In no time, Dixon and Bloomfield had the entire exercise connected and ready for the jungle.

“We are well trained in our profession and very reliable,” said Bloomfield. “All platforms of communication were up and running one hour after boots were on ground.”

Once the exercise moves to Oiapoque today, cell and internet communications will cease and the only reliable communications with each other and the Brazilian Army will be via radio.

“Without the equipment we’ve provided, U.S. Army communication would be nearly impossible,” said Dixon. “The jungles in Brazil reside on rough terrain with hills, mountains, valleys and rivers. Without our satellite connecting capabilities there would be little to no communication”

Maj. Kevin Morris, the U.S. Army South foreign military interactions branch chief and the lead planner for Southern Vanguard 24, emphasized the importance of the team here in Brazil. Leading up to the final phase of the exercise, communication between three locations was crucial to ensure movement and planning was coordinated.

“Without their support, we would have no way to communicate between Macapa, Ferreira Gomes, and Oiapoque,” said Morris. “Their expertise allowed us to communicate forward to synchronize all warfighting capabilities.”

In addition to supporting Southern Vanguard 24, 56th Signal Battalion is arranged across the United States and Central and South America in direct support of U.S. Army South and U.S. Southern Command.

The 56th Signal Battalion has elements permanently arrayed across five states and three countries. The battalion is responsible for executive communications support to the Commanding Generals of U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Army South, U.S. Army North, U.S. Army Central, U.S. Army Cyber, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, and the U.S. Army Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

Because of the efforts of the Dixon and Bloomfield, the exercise will be able to continue without interruption because Soldiers have the ability to talk to one another. This is essential for mission success.

Bloomfield said the exercise has allowed him to gain experience and build contacts which will be invaluable when working with multinational forces on future missions and exercises.

“Being put in this role is truly an honor and a privilege,” said Bloomfield. “Not only do I have the opportunity to learn and network within our own forces but our partner allies as well. Communication is always an important role in any situation.”