CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit was introduced to a new tent system that will enhance its’ war fighting capabilities by expediting the setup of operations.
The Marine Corps has introduced an all-inclusive system that provides almost everything a unit needs to function in the field. This system is known as a Unit Operations Center, or UOC.
Previous tent systems used by the 15th MEU require purchasing the tent by itself, and then supplying all other equipment needed for the unit function. The UOC provides everything needed for a unit to establish communication within itself and with outside organizations, including computers, generators, cases, and visual display equipment.
The 15th MEU spent the week training Marines from every section on the setup and operations of the UOC which included a Network Operators Course, UOC Operators Course, and a Watch Officers Course.
The week long training started each day around 8:00 a.m. and lasted some days until 5:30 p.m. According to Master Sgt. Eric B. King, 15th MEU operations chief, the 15th MEU plans to purchase their own UOC to use for training exercises throughout the year in preparation for an upcoming deployment.
During the UOC Operators Course, Marines practiced the setup of the entire system, everything from erecting the tent to laying out the network system and getting it running.
According to Sgt. Warren F. Halstead III, intelligence systems noncommissioned officer for the 15th MEU who attended the Network Operators Course, it gave an in-depth overview of all the systems and communication gear, and how it all tied together.
“As the sole systems [Marine] for the S-2 shop, I am now familiar with the architecture so I can bring my systems to tie in to the UOC architecture seamlessly and smoothly, as opposed to some of the confusion there always was before,” said Halstead.
“All the cables are pre-made and designed to run a certain way through the tent so you don’t end up with a spider web of cables running everywhere,” said Halstead. “The tables also tie into each other for power supply so you don’t have a bunch of power supplies [cluttered] around your feet.”
During the Network Operators Course, Marines learned about the network system and its communication gear.
According to Gunnery Sgt. Steven P. Basco, 15th MEU frequency manager, the UOC cuts down 70% of communication assets and equipment, and sets up faster than with the conventional drash tent.
“Instead of using six wire networks, the UOC allows connectivity success with only one line,” said Basco. “The radio networks also allow the user to communicate with other users as well as with Marines in the field.”
During the three hour Watch Officer Course, officers and staff noncommissioned officers from all Military Occupational Specialties had the opportunity to experience how the UOC works, and get a better working knowledge of all of its components.
“I gained a better understanding of the many communication assets that tie in together to help us communicate,” said Capt. Lisa M. Parrott, 15th MEU supply officer. “One of the most impressive features of the system is the interconnection of communication abilities [using one laptop].”
With everyone being cross-trained on UOC, it provides a wide base of knowledge throughout the MEU that helps the unit setup and run the entire system more proficiently, ultimately enhancing the MEU’s war fighting capabilities.