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Providing communications for Balikatan 2017

By Airman 1st Class Corey Pettis | U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific | April 27, 2017

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CAMP LAPULAPU, Cebu -- Communication is vital to any mission, exercise or daily operation. That is especially true for the Combined Joint Civil-Military Operations Task Force for Exercise Balikatan 2017 at Camp Lapulapu, Cebu.

Balikatan is a Filipino term meaning “shoulder-to-shoulder” and is an annual exercise involving the U.S. military and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, designed to build bilateral partnership by joining forces to complete humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as counterterrorism training.

U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Alexander Davis is making it possible for the CJCMOTF to easily and quickly communicate to the sites on other islands.


“We are setting up a tactical satellite network to control the battlespace for the commanders so they can talk from the headquarters, here in Cebu, to all the different subordinate units at all the other sites on all the different islands simultaneously,” Davis said. “This is the communication and control piece of the overall mission.”

Davis’ reports of accountability and critical information to both the headquarters and other mission sites is an important requirement for mission success. 

“It provides a quick reporting system, if anything were to happen at the (engineering civic action project) sites,” Davis said. “It is real time communication and it provides a way for the commander to quickly pick up a handset and talk to anywhere he needs.”

Along with SATCOM capabilities, maintaining network communications is a key part for exercise success.

“I provide network access to the CJCMOTF headquarters here,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Jarred Lyon. “I make sure everyone is able to email each other, stay in contact with communications and on the side, operate the radio.”

Network maintenance is an around the clock job, and Lyon sits ready to keep it running. 

“Day-to-day, I am mostly troubleshooting network problems, troubleshooting computers and making sure they are able to connect to the internet,” Lyon said. “Without me here, people would not be able to communicate.”


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