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NEWS | June 22, 2017

US, Uzbek soldiers build new lines of communication

By Capt. Desiree Dillehay and Staff Sgt. Joshua Atanovich, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade

U.S. Army Central Soldiers conducted a tactical communications military-to-military engagement with the Uzbekistan Armed Forces June 13-16, 2017, at the Tashkent Institute of Information Technologies in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Staff sergeants Joshua Atanovich and William Gordley, both with the 149th Military Engagement Team, participated in the engagement with more than 40 officers and noncommissioned officers from the Uzbekistan Armed Forces, and faculty and cadets from the Institute.

“We have been exchanging partnerships for several years,” said Lt. Col. Alishez Madaminov, Uzbek Signal Ministry of Defense commander. “These joint engagements provide answers to much needed questions, (and) we look forward to continuing this type of exchange in the future. It is useful and our technical managers benefit from (sharing) experiences, recommendations and technical knowledge."

Participants discussed everything from radio operations and maintenance to frequency and spectrum management to signal mission planning. The discussions included real world experiences and best practices for overcoming communications challenges in a tactical field environment.

These discussions segued into practical applications using Harris radios, computer applications, and other equipment that built upon participants’ knowledge of signal operations in mountainous terrain.

"It is important for our specialists to gather the knowledge on their equipment and maintain their proficiency. We plan on continuing to take advantage of the opportunities when they present itself,” Madaminov added.

“It's great to see, collaborate and learn with our Signal Corps counterparts that face and mitigate similar (communication challenges),” said Atanovich.

Another large aspect of military-to-military engagements is building lasting relationships with our partner nations. The participants from both sides often exchange small tokens that represent a piece of their culture, such as patches and lapel pins.

Gordley, knowledgeable in vexillology, the study of flags, provided detailed information about the imagery and symbolism of the U.S. flag, and how it’s worn on the U.S. Army uniform. Every participant received a U.S. flag shoulder patch. Gordley also had an opportunity to tell the Uzbek participants what he learned about the Uzbekistan flag and the State Seal of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

“These exchanges demonstrate a meaningful and hospitable opportunity for not only tactical information exchange but an enlightening, heartfelt desire to work together for regional and world stability,” said Gordley.

“We can learn so much from each other’s experiences and best practices — that is all very important — (but) it’s very rewarding to learn and understand each other's historical and current culture,” added Atanovich. “During my time out here I have learned that we share more similarities than one would think, even outside the military. It amazes me the bonds that I have built with the partnered soldiers we have worked with.”

The engagement wrapped up with an after action review, closing remarks and a presentation of certificates of appreciation.

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