Science and Technology News

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Airman Keeps Soldiers Connected in Afghanistan

By Army Pfc. Melissa Stewart
Special to American Forces Press Service

Oct. 22, 2009 - Shoot, move and communicate. That's a soldier's motto on the battlefield, but without a stable Internet connection, communication would not be possible. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeremy Emond does his part at Combat Outpost McClain, aiding soldiers by providing Internet access.

"I'm supporting the warfighters at ground zero," he said.

Nearly everything from intelligence reports, operations planning and tracking troops outside the wire depend on Internet connectivity.

"Before he came out here, the [secure Internet protocol router] was really slow, and with most of my job I use SIPR," said Army Spc. Daniel T. Bailey, an intelligence analyst with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Task Force Spartan. "Since he's come, everything has been really fast."

Emond is one of nearly 80 airmen deployed to various locations in Afghanistan to operate the Virtual Secret Internet Protocol Router, Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router, Access Point, -- known as VSNAP -- a system developed early this year to provide Internet access for soldiers in remote locations.

"This is probably the most fun I'll ever have on deployment," Emond said. "It's given me a chance to see how the war is being fought from inside a command post."

"It's a great system, because the disc can be set up in about 15 minutes, and you can probably be passing traffic in a half an hour," Emond said. "It can pull power off a running Humvee; you don't even need a generator to operate the system."

(Army Pfc. Melissa Stewart serves in the Task Force Spartan public affairs office.)

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