Fort Lewis, WA – Soldiers assigned to the 51st Signal Battalion are expected to return home from a 12-month deployment to Iraq this weekend.
While deployed, the 51st Signal Battalion provided tactical communications networks supporting Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) operations, first as part of Task Force Thunderbird, and later Task Force Diamond.
The battalion’s was based at Joint Base Balad, and managed tactical communications for 37 bases and outposts, including COB Speicher in Tikrit, and FOB Warrior in Kirkuk. The unit provided command and control access across the entire country of Iraq, an area totaling 437,072 square km. Soldiers assigned to the unit installed 4,000 computers on military networks, established more than 6,000 user accounts, installed more than 41 communications assets in support of six divisions and joint, combined, coalition and corps support units, and installed more than 100 miles of fiber optic cable (as well as trenching and installing the subsurface necessary to maintain that fiber), while also maintaining an overall deployment network reliability rating of 98%.
The battalion’s networks also enabled more than 10 million phone calls, with a 99% call completion rate.
The unit also established an in-house training program, “Mercury University,” to sustain and improve its Soldiers’ basic and advanced network administration skills while deployed.
In recognition of these efforts, the unit has been awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation.