Comm setup builds confidence, camaraderie
By Cpl. Scott L. Eberle
| | March 15, 2006
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit communications section recently practiced setting up equipment and establishing communications with a forward element in preparation for future training exercises and deployment later this year.
With an upcoming deployment still on the horizon, the Marines are practicing setting up operations in different environments so they will be better prepared for any situation they may end up in.
With the recent purchase of a Unit Operations Center, many of the Marines with the 15th MEU were able to practice the set up of the communications equipment for a Command Operations Center in a field environment.
“The UOC training was focused on a field environment so we wanted to give the Marines some practice setting up a COC in an urban environment,” said Staff Sgt. Dawayne C. Tate, 15th MEU radio chief.
For the training, a group of Marines went to another part of Camp Pendleton to act as a Forward, a group that will scout out an area before the rest of the unit moves into that area. Meanwhile, another group of Marines at the communication shop set up an “antenna hill,” a separate location from the COC where all the radio antennas are set up, and established communication with the forward.
According to Sgt. Christopher J. Neves, 15th MEU assistant radio chief, setting up “antenna hill” is crucial to the unit’s safety. All of the frequencies from the antennas leave a “footprint” that is easy for anyone trying to track us to find. By having an “antenna hill” separate from the actual COC, it prevents us from giving away the exact location of the COC.
“We’re not just establishing communication over just one radio,” said Lance Cpl. Mercer D. Parrish, a radio operator with the 15th MEU. “We established communication over two very high frequency radios and one high frequency radio because you never know which type you will be able to use on deployment.”
Although this training was not an official training exercise for the 15th MEU, it was an opportunity for many of the Marines to gets some hands on training and do some troubleshooting on their own.
According to Tate, although this training cannot fully simulate the stress of an actual exercise or combat operation, it at least helps build muscle memory and make the Marines more proficient at what they are doing.
He also said it is getting the Marines comfortable with their equipment. Any problems they run into now, they will have practice working them out so when a real exercise comes around, these problems will be much easier for them to work through.
“Overall I think this training is very beneficial to all of the Marines involved and will make future operations easier for them to work through,” said Tate.