Satellite Communication Systems Operators are responsible for making sure that the lines of communication are always up and running. They maintain the multichannel satellite communications for the entire Army.
Primary duties include:
Job training for a Satellite Communications Systems Operator requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and a minimum of 28 weeks of Advanced Individual Training held at Fort Gordon, GA. Your contract will say 28 weeks, but this is only training. Your actual time at AIT will vary based on how much time you spend waiting for classes to begin. On average, Soldiers are spending a minimum of 30-32 weeks. For those selected for 1C SATCOM controller, training will exceed a yar.
25S AIT is recognized as one of the Army’s most academically rigorous training programs.
Notes from a former 25S AIT student:
Arrival: You’ll get bussed/flown in from wherever. I came from Jackson and it was about a 2 hour bus ride. You’ll get taken to Friendship Chapel on Fort Gordon, given your paperwork, then shipped on over to 15th RSB where you’ll do somepaperwork, then you’ll walk down the street to B551 barracks. A platoon sergeant will take you into a classroom, counsel you on standards and expectations, and send you on your way. If you have family, they are allowed to take you off-post for the weekend. If not, yo’ure stuck in the barracks, but you are exempt from any sort of detail or duty that weekend.
Phones: You can keep your phone, however you can NOT have it in the school house. Don’t even try, you WILL get caught and if you do get caught, you can say goodbye to 1C opportunities. You’re also allowed to have a laptop, gaming console and TV (as long as the TV can fit in your locker), pretty much any kind of electronics that can fit in your locker.
Drinking/Tabacco/Food: You are allowed to use any kind of tobacco products, however smoking is only allowed in designated areas. You aren’t allowed to dip/chew in your room. Alcohol is strictly forbidden and you will get brethalyzed so don’t even try it. It’s a great way to get permanently phased down.
School: You can either be on midnight shift (which is 2330-0630) or daytime shift (0800-1600). Midnight shift is better IMO because school is shorter (there is a -LOT- of downtime at school), you have the entire day to go to appointments (if you’re on days, you have to get out of school which is a hassle), you generally play fewer fuck-fuck games, and PT isn’t as long/intense.
The school curriculum is divided into two phases. THe first phase, which all 25S’s go through, is called Common Core. This is the backbone of SATCOM. You will learn about electronics and electricity, multiplexer theory, computer networking, and it will all culminate in the end at an annex called Systems where you combine all the stuff you learned from common core to set up a basic simulated point-to-point link. This annex is 14 weeks long.
The second part, there are two options. Around D annex of common core (networking) you will get projections which will tell you not only your projected duty station, but also your ASI. You can go one of two ways: STrategic or Tactical. Strategic is shift work where you’re holed up in an office all day on 12 hour shifts, basically working at a STEP site. It’s more like a normal office job. Tactical is more what you’d associate with the Army. You roll out in a humvee or commo van and set up comms in the field. You can be attached to special forces, rangers, an infantry unit, or just work at battallion/brigade level as a TACSAT operator.
If you are National Guard, Reserves, or have Airborne/RASP in your contract, you will go tactical guaranteed. If none of that applies to you, it’s possible for you to go tactical, but more likely than not you will be strategic. Either way, you have no say in the matter. It boils down to what’s in your contract + needs of the Army.
There is also 1C school (commonly called 1 Chuck school). In order to qualify for 1 Chuck you have to have passed all PT tests, be at the top of your class academically, and not receive any major negative counseling statements (don’t get counselled at the school house, don’t drink alcohol, don’t smoke in the barracks, don’t get a SHARP or EO complaint, etc). 1C is the Additional Skill Identifier for SATCOM Controller. Basically a 1C’s job is to control who can access the satellites. If you are selected for 1C, you will go the strategic route, then stay at Fort Gordon after graduation for an additional 4 months of schooling. However, during 1C school you will be considered permanent party of the 551st Signal Battalion, so you will be treated as and afforded all the privileges of a regular soldier. IE you can leave base whenever you want and drink off duty. As a 1C you can be assigned to 5 different places: Kuwait, Hawaii, Landstuhl, Fort Monmouth, or Japan. Everything except Kuwait is a real cushy duty station. A lot of people want 1C because you get a top secret clearance, and it also sets you up for a pretty high paying career after the service. It’s very competitive and difficult to get in. As long as you can keep your academics up, pass PT, and do the right thing, you should be able to make it if you want it enough.
The schooling itself is easy. However, A (electronics theory) and D (networking + routers) annexes of common core are the ones that trip people up the most and cause the most washouts.
Phases: When you arrive you are Phase IV. This means you can’t leave brigade AO on weekdays (which means no PX or Commissary), you have a Phase IV Detail, and the AIT center + Commissary are off limits. The AIT center is probably the worst part because there is free WiFi in there and it’s an easy walking distance from the company. You are not allowed to go on pass or leave the base.You cannot eat in any restaurants. Ordering delivery is fine. Having a friend buy you food from a restaurant, then eating it back at the company is fine. You yourself, however, cannot purchase food nor can you eat in a restaurant. You are also only allowed to wear Army issued clothing in Phase IV.
Phase V, you have more freedoms. Anything on base is open to you, except Bingo Hall (which no one goes to anyways) and obvious places like bars and the Class 6. You can wear civilian clothes after your duty day ends. You’re allowed to use civilian bed linens. YOu can eat in restaurants and buy your own food. You can go to the PX and other places outside brigade AO on weekdays. You still are not allowed to leave post, even on weekends, and you will not be allowed to go on pass for long weekends. To make Phase V, you have to have been at Bravo for at least 3 weeks, pass a diagnostic APFT, and fulfill requirements on a checklist. The 3 week requirement and passing a diag are the most important things though.
Phase V+ is the final phase. This is where you have the most privileges. If you are married, you can move out of the barracks once you hit phase V+. You’re allowed to go off post on weekends after the safety briefing.
Phases can be revoked temporarily.How long you are phased down for depends on the mood of the cadre and the severity of the offense. Things like dirty rooms, being late to formation, and general stupid behavior will get you phased down. If you do the right thing, show up on time, in the right uniform, you will be fine.
PT: Bravo loves to run. Every day is a run day. MWF are your bona-fide run days, in which you will run between 3-5 miles. Sometimes you’ll just run around Barton Field, sometimes you will do hill runs, sometimes you will do AGR on roads. It really just depends on what the PSG conducting PT feels like.
TR is muscle failure. You’ll still run, but also do muscle failure. Again, what you do specifically depends on the PSG. Occasionally if there’s inclement weather they’ll march you to the gym and let you do PT there. Usually its between 1 hour and 1.5 hours.
ASVAB Score: 117 EL. We highly recommend Kaplan’s 2016 ASVAB Study Guide
PULHES Profile: 212221
Vision: Normal Color Vision
Physical Demands Rating: Moderately heavy
Security Clearance: Secret. Those selected for 1C SATCOM controller training will require a Top Secret clearance.
Additional Notes: Must be a U.S. Citizen, successfully completed one year of high school algebra and science
Must have completed a minimum of 1 year of accredited college or technical school studies in electronics/electronic repair or have 2 years verifiable experience, combination of formal training and experience totaling 2 years in installing, operating and maintaining satellite communications systems. This experience must be Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) or Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) technology in the X, C, Ka or Ku frequency band for both transmissions and reception. The applicant should have associated base band equipment knowledge to include Multiplexer/De-multiplexer, patch panels and associated Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment.
MSG Washington has served within the ranks of the United States Army since June of 2001. With ten years of recruiting experience, he is an expert on Recruiting Operations, who willingly assists applicants across the Country with their enlistment process.