MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines with Communications Detachment, Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, conducted a communications exercise here, July 11-17, in preparation for an upcoming training exercise with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.The training at Red Beach was the first field exercise for the CLB, whose members were recently pulled from different units and attached to the 11th MEU. CLB-15 worked to establish communications with multiple units under the 1st MLG communication architecture.
During the exercise, Marines dispatched to Del Mar Beach and practiced setting up a jump command post before the 11th MEU arrived in order to support offloading operations. A jump command post is a mobile communications effort that provides relocation abilities to the commander. “Our mission is to set up a mobile combat operations center for the Maritime Prepositioning Force offload as a training exercise for next week,” said Lance Cpl. Garrett E. Vance, digital wideband radio operator, Comm. Det., CLB-15, 1st MLG.
According to 1st Lt. Brian M. Chamberlain, communications officer, Comm. Det., CLB-15, 1st MLG, the exercise was a practice run for the Marines, requiring the establishment of multiple types of communications.
“Very high-frequency communications provide internal [communications] with the combat operations center located at Red Beach,” said Chamberlain, 31, from Woodstock, Ga. “The jump command post we are creating (at Del Mar
Beach) has the same function as the COC. This post provides the commander with a mobile post that allows him to be at the point of friction.”
While many missions require varying levels of protection, from entry control points to vehicle inspection sites, the point of friction is where the main mission is located. For the Maritime Prepositioning Force, 11th MEU offloading operations are critical and the commander must be present.
“The communications team sets up the jump post so the commander can communicate to higher headquarters from the point of friction,” said Chamberlain.
Radio operators worked to establish stable communications, at times creating their own hand-crafted radio designs.
“We manufactured our own antennas with the equipment we have to facilitate high-frequency communications,” said Gunnery Sgt. Robert A. Ferguson, communications chief, Comm. Det., CLB-15, 1st MLG. “It’s important because high-frequency is the most reliable type for long-distance communications.”
Marines used Meal Ready-to-Eat boxes, camouflage net poles and slash wire to create their own antennas. After attaching the wire to a high-frequency radio, it was then connected to a tough book, and tactical chatting from Del Mar Beach to Red Beach and higher headquarters was achieved.
“We are all very passionate about what we are doing so we are all having a lot of fun,” said Chamberlain. “This exercise proves our capability to establish a mobile communication post to enable command and control.”
The impact of the communications team extends beyond the individual unit.
“My job is the most important part of the battalion because without communication, nothing could be accomplished,” said Vance, 20, from McCall, Idaho.
Along with gaining experience in their individual jobs, the Marines also got the chance to train in other areas of communication.
“Being in a smaller unit, we’re forced to learn [about] every piece of equipment,” said Lance Cpl. Jason B. Davis, digital wideband radio operator, Comm. Det., CLB-15, 1st MLG. “Every communications Marine is able to become proficient in more than just their specific job.”