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Videoconferencing Connects Soldiers with Home

Hubs in Iraq are located in Baghdad and Basra.

The Armed Forces have been using videoconferencing to keep personnel connected with the folks back home, and the American Forces Press Service recently described that process in one brigade.

Army Master Sgt. Thomas Kemble and Army 1st Lt. Francis Conroy of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, tackle the brigade’s communications.

Kemble said he sets up his videoconferences using a computer, a large monitor, a webcam and microphones, and the group he plans to link with must have the same setup on their end.

“The drawback is limited bandwidth, so we are routed through special communication hubs,” he told AFPS. “We hook into the hub, which then hooks us into a conference.”

Hubs in Iraq are located in Baghdad and Basra.

Mission-related communications are done on a secure network, and communications not related to the mission, such as morale events, are done on nonsecure networks.

Kemble and Conroy set up a conference with a family readiness group’s Halloween party for unit families. The children had their costumes on, and they could talk with and see their parents and loved ones here. Also, with technical support from St. Francis University on Oct. 12, Kemble set up an opportunity here for soldiers to participate. The event gave older veterans some interaction with today’s soldiers and allowed them a glimpse of daily life and duty in Iraq.