CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines -- Internet, phones and network communication are all vital to the Marine Corps’ mission during expeditionary operations. Communication is the direct link between command elements, troops on the ground, aircraft in the air and leadership in the rear.
Marines with 7th Communication Battalion, III Marine Headquarters Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, who are currently assigned to 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in support of Amphibious Landing Exercise 2015, are currently in the Philippines working around the clock to keep a steady line of communications that will ensure the success of the exercise.
“We provide the link that allows reporting up to the command element, so that way [they] can make decisions; those decisions can then be relayed out to Marines via our communications,” said 1st Lt. Collin Chew the officer-in-charge of the 7th Communication Battalion detachment.
The 7th Communications Battalion detachment is responsible for all forms of communication that allows 3rd MEB to effectively accomplish their mission during PHIBLEX 15.
PHIBLEX 15 is an annual, bilateral training exercise conducted by U.S. Marine and Navy Forces with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to strengthen our interoperability and working relationships across a wide range of military operations — from disaster relief to complex expeditionary operations.
Marines use communication assets, such as rapid response kits to allow 3rd MEB to complete humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“A rapid response kit is a quickly deployable communication asset that can be set up in a few hours,” said Cpl. Wesley McCulloch, a field radio operator with 3rd MEB. “It gives you everything you need to be successful in expeditionary operations.”
Communication Marines are all around the Corps providing the lines of communication that allow Marines to accomplish their mission. Marine leadership is heavily reliant on computers to send information, so during the exercise communications Marines provide assistance to the combat operations center to ensure mission success.
“For this exercise it is mostly computer based, so users spend a lot of time sending emails back and forth,” said Cpl. Roland King a data network specialist with 3rd MEB. “With me being there and facilitating that help, it allows them to effectively communicate and do their job.”
As America’s expeditionary force in readiness, the Marine Corps has to rely on communications in every part of the Marine Air Ground Task Force.
According to King, communications are vital to everything, ranging from ground combat elements to aircraft support to the movement of logistical supplies.
To sustain the demands of an operation or an exercise communication Marines are in the background working long hours to maintain lines of communications.
According to Chew, people do not really notice the communication Marines until things go down, and very quickly they realize that there are people maintaining the network behind the scenes.
“When communications are good everyone is happy, when communications are down no one is happy,” said King from Atlanta, Georgia. “It is a job that has a lot of long hours spent, but it is worth it.”