Back in 1987 – Technology really was starting to ramp up, and I made the decision to enlist. Two years earlier the Army had split up the 33MOS Field into five specializations 33P (Strategic Receiving Subsystems Repairer), 33Q (Strategic Recording Subsystems Repairer), 33R (Aviation Systems Repairer), 33V (Aerial Sensor Repairer), 33T (Tactical Systems Repairer) – and I had joined the ranks of the “Tactical” T’s.
After a 39 Week training course (and yes – that was 8 hours a day, 5 days a week) in Ft Devens, I was deployed to Ansbach Germany as part of the 501st MI BN. It was there that I worked on many different systems, to include fielding some interesting proto-types….most notably the satellite communications system Trojan Spirit during the Persian Gulf War. It was through that system, that I got my first job outside of the Military (a story for a later post) and my career took off.
Hours were long as a soldier, but I knew I had the best training and was working on the most cutting edge equipment available (the Trojan Spirit routed traffic originally through Cisco ISM and later IGS routers – a year after they IPO’ed). The great thing about working in MI – if you did your job well, they left you alone.
The 33 Field was considered the premier electronics field in the Military – and to be part of it was exciting, as you never knew where it was going to take you. From deploying to the Czech border to monitor our Cold War opponents, to flying in a Quickfix as an systems specialist – it wasn’t just a job, it was an adventure.
Sadly – in 1998, the Army recombined the 3 MOSs: 33R (Aviation Systems Repairer), 33T (Tactical Systems Repairer), 33Y (Electronic Warfare/Intercept Strategic Systems Repairer) into one MOS—33W (Electronic Warfare/Intelligence Systems Repairer). This change was prompted due to lack of need in several of the 33 series. By combining all three into one MOS, the Army was able to provide the same support with fewer soldiers and use OJT (on the job training).
On 1 October 2007, the 33W designation was renamed to 35T to group all Military Intelligence MOSs in the same 35 series.
Even with all the changes (and evolution in technology) the job is still the same – which is get the equipment working and have a “Can Do” attitude, but the world has changed. I respect and miss all of my Brother and Sister 33’s, and I admire what the 35T MOS is doing today too. They even have a pretty good video that shows what the job is like – and I notice that Satellite Communications is still a huge player, even after all these years.