KARBALA, Iraq -- As the Bulgarian forces in Karbala begin to take over stabilization and humanitarian operations from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, the Marines are doing everything they can to ensure a smooth transition. This includes effective communication.
As part of that effort, the Marines of the Communications Platoon, Headquarters and Support Company held a series of classes in recently to familiarize members of the Bulgarian advance party with communications gear used by the Marines during the Operation Iraqi Freedom. The classes covered topics ranging from establishing communication between vehicles, sending electronic text messages and accessing the Internet.
"It was to give them a familiarity of how communications works in the Marine Corps, and how we used them here during the war," said Lance Cpl. Mark Fulkerson, from Streator, Ill., a data specialist with Comm Platoon.
"They appeared to be interested," Fulkerson continued. "We'd go for a little bit, and then one of the guys would translate to the other guys. They asked about different stuff as far as just some of the gear compared to theirs and if it allowed them to do different things. One of the guys was in communications, and they seemed to know a lot as far as frequencies."
The Bulgarians found the information useful and plan to make use of some of the things they heard and saw.
"It can help us, even though we use different equipment from yours, we can use some good ideas we heard today, for example maybe for organization of our system in Karbala," said Bulgarian Army 1st Lt. Yordan Panov, from Sofia, Bulgaria, a member of the Bulgarian advance party.
"This is great," said Bulgarian Army Sgt. Hristo Lamburov, from Karlovo, Bulgaria, of the Marine's inventory. "It may not be new equipment, but it is strong,"
"All the systems are very good, because every level of the system can work without other system," added Bulgarian Army Sgt. 1st Class Ivailo Ivanov, from Sofia, Bulgaria.
The Marines gave the Bulgarians a comprehensive picture of the communications of a Marine infantry battalion, said Sgt. Scott Hokanson, from Eagan, Minn., a member of Comm Platoon.
"We went over the radio, wire, data, and satellite communications," he said. "Just so they know what we do and how we communicate, how we talk to all the units away from us."
"They seemed to grasp it," added Hokanson. "They knew what we were talking about and how we broke it down for them. They were trying to get really involved with it."