Next weekend I’ll be heading up to one of the battalion headquarters to help them train for their upcoming command post exercise (CPX). One of my tasks will be to give a briefing to the battalion staff – the battalion commander and the officers who run the battalion command post – about the current state of the suite of battle command software and hardware known as the Army Battle Command Systems, or ABCS.
ABCS has been my job for the last two and a half years, so the subject is familiar to me – old hat, really. But thinking about my trip made me think about my role and how, without really knowing it, I’ve become a figure of some (albeit minor) importance in the brigade’s training and operations.
A few years ago, I was a snarky E-4, writing from the desert, showing up for the war and doing whatever I was told. Now I’m an E-6, a staff sergeant, a veritable grizzled veteran with almost three years as a Guard “full-timer” under my belt. I’ll be getting up in front of these officers – most of them combat veterans with the brigade’s last tour in Iraq – and telling them about the digital systems and doctrine that they’ll use to prosecute the war during their next deployment, whenever that may be. It’s a small thing, but it suddenly brings into focus the true scope and impact of my job. It’s an injection of reality that’s all too rare for a signal soldier like me, who is usually too mired in the day’s latest technical emergency to step back to look at the proverbial big picture.