MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Communication is crucial to any battlefield commander and his troops. To ensure that communication is able to be established, the Marines behind the scenes train continuously to make sure they can make a connection every time.
In order to increase proficiency in their trade, 17 communications Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit conducted a four-day field operation to enhance their skills. During this evolution, they also trained eight of their counterparts of their soon-to-be Battalion Landing Team - 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, Calif. at Reconnaissance, Selection and Occupation of Position 95, Sept. 26-29.
The evolution included working with the different types of satellites Marines use in the field to receive and transmit data. The Marines came together with all their different specialties to ensure their pieces of the puzzle can all fit together. In addition, 3/5 learned how to use a satellite that they will only have once they become a part of the 15th MEU.
“This joint training was hosted by the 15th MEU’s communications section,” said 1st Lt. Robert C. Schronski, communications platoon commander, 3/5. “They were kind enough to invite us out and start training before we become a MEU. In addition, we were able to learn how to use some gear that is not organic to our unit, but will become ours when we fall under the MEU,” added the 27-year-old native of Joliet, Ill.
The satellite that the 3/5 Marines worked on is called the Support Wide Area Network, version I. Once 3/5 and the other subordinate elements join the MEU, they will receive SWAN systems to facilitate communications between them and the command element.
Like any other specialty, continuous training is the key to proficiency. Since 3/5 does not have a SWAN, their training consisted of its assembly and usage.
While the 3/5 Marines were learning about the SWAN, command element Marines received their own training. Another system that was introduced was the SWAN mini, the most compact of the SWAN versions. Manufacturer representatives were on hand to teach proper function of the system.
“In addition to showing the 3/5 Marines how to use the SWAN v.1, the command element’s Marines are being taught how to use the SWAN mini,” said Sgt. Curtis M. Brown, switching chief, 15th MEU. “Since there is also a large personnel changeover, we are ensuring the new Marines are all caught up,” added the 27-year-old native of Austin, Texas.
No matter what unit the Marine was from, at the end of the training, the communications Marines increased their proficiency in their respective trades.
“Some of the junior Marines were exposed to the SWAN mini, 3/5 got schooled up on the SWAN v. I, everyone learned something,” said Cpl. Garrett L. Spinks, satellite communications operator, 15th MEU. “Everyone built up their proficiency with the satellite and that’s what going to the field is all about - learning,” added the 23-year-old native of Coleridge, N.C.
The 15th MEU is currently scheduled to receive 3/5 as one of its subordinate elements early 2012.