Feb 10, 2014 -- CAMP GONSALVES, Japan - Marines stationed on Okinawa participated in a Jungle Communications Course Jan. 23-27 at the Jungle Warfare Training Center, Camp Gonsalves, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
The four-day course included classroom instruction, radio programming and land navigation. The participants were from units ranging from infantry to field radio communicators.
“These Marines experienced exhaustion (during this training),” said Staff Sgt. David L. Cole, chief instructor with the training center. “They were going to be tired, they were wet, they were muddy, and they still had to program radios, effectively set up antennas, and set up communications with the operations center.”
Organizers designed the course to give participating infantrymen experience with communications equipment, as well as provide communications Marines simulated combat experience while operating in a jungle environment, according to Cole.
“This course is designed to bridge the gap between communications and combat,” said Cole. “The course was not designed for any specific exercise or operation.
“Rather this course was designed to prepare the Marines for missions in our particular area of operation, which has quite a bit of jungle.”
Participants achieved the overall mission of the course by becoming more proficient at their jobs and as Marines, according to Lance Cpl. Alec J. Wiedenbeck, a radio operator with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, currently assigned to 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, under the unit deployment program.
“I definitely feel like I’m getting better at my job,” said Wiedenbeck. “It’s a pretty good mix of things I’m familiar with and things I’m not.”
The importance of becoming proficient in a jungle environment was not lost on anybody, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan E. Robbins, a corpsman with the training center. It allowed participants to see how well they were able to handle being in such a harsh environment.
“It’s beneficial for all the communications units to be able to work in this type of environment,” said Robbins. “The more proficient they are, the more muscle memory they have, the more they can (focus) and just do what they know they can.”
Following the course, these Marines will return to their parent commands to share their recently gained knowledge and experience, according to Wiedenbeck.
“The course is basically teaching me how to survive,” said Wiedenbeck. “Everything is harder to do in thick jungle; from setting up communications to maintaining it (but this course has prepared me for it).”