Fort Drum Soldiers Get Major 'Phone Upgrade'

Tools

The new trucks at Fort Drum may look like the average army vehicle, but they're more than that. 

You could call them a cell tower on wheels. 

The trucks help create a secure mobile network so soldiers on the ground can to talk to each other in remote areas of Afghanistan, for example.

Soldiers say it's a huge step forward.

"In many places we're so far removed, we're using hand and arm signals, old FM communication, Much like we did in World War II. We really haven't evolved much past that," said Colonel Walter Piatt, the 10th Mountain Division's Deputy Commanding General for Support.

Every soldier will be carrying an average smartphone.

The big difference will be in the software it uses.

The Motorola Atrix will only connect to the Army's portable network and will run only programs the Army has installed. 

For example, there will be maps so soldiers will be able to see where they are, where their fellow soldiers are, and where the enemy is. 

"As brigade commander, I can talk to every one of my companies and every platoon along with data.  I think about 2005 and then being able to do this in 2012. It's a tremendous leap forward," said Colonel Samuel Whitehurst, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

The 10th Mountain Division is one of the first two Army divisions to receive the new technology.

Soldiers are already training with the equipment to be ready to use it in combat by March. 
 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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