8/8/2013 -- CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Like needles on a pin cushion, multiple antennas protruded from the horizon of dirt and grass as Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 5, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, conducted a communications exercise aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., July 22 -26, 2013.
Thirty-six Marines in the battalion conducted communication operations while in the field. Marines trained in wire, radio and data capabilities alongside motor transportation Marines to ensure they were proficient in their techniques, tactics and procedures.
The service members trained to shoot information over different distances using multiple mediums of communication and a range of frequencies. They attempted to send messages to receivers as far as Camp Lejeune, N.C, a distance of approximately 3,000 miles, using an 80-foot-long antenna, powered by 150 watts.
A great amount of experience and knowledge is required from the user because the directional antenna used requires precise grid coordinates and azimuths in order to successfully send a message.
“We have a narrow window to shoot this message,” said 1st Lt. William Tuhacek, a communications officer with Headquarters and Support Company, CLB-5. “It’s a mix between an art and a science. We need to adjust the angles, the tension and other factors affecting the antenna. It requires operator intuition.”
In addition to this, Marines with CLB-5 are trained in more advanced methods of communication, integrating communication operators from motor transportation units and sending them out aboard combat logistics patrols.
“They’ll be working on high frequency voice communications, satellite communications on-the-move and tactical chat,” said Tuhacek, a native of San Francisco, Calif.
Staff Sgt. Bradley Burton, a data chief with H&S Company, CLB-5, highlighted the importance of data and these advanced systems for the unit’s command and control.
“Communication has evolved so much over the years that the pinnacle now is data,” said Burton. “Everyone is becoming data based, and data is becoming the top priority.”
In addition, data also provides better morale and stability to the unit.
“Our main goal is to provide communications in the form of Internet, e-mail and telecommunications, because everything rides on our equipment,” said Burton, a New York native. “Data brings a sense of normalcy to the battlefield, such as when you’re able to check e-mail and check the internet just like you would at your workstation.”
At the end of the day, Burton believes the communications exercise is most important for the unit’s cohesion and experience.
“Exercises like this are important because it keeps everyone frosty and in tune with their military occupational specialty, and the trials and tribulations in the field keeps them sharp,” said Burton.