1st Radio Battalion tests communication capabilities

26 May 2011 | Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno

Marines with 1st Radio Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force, honed their life-saving skills during a communication exercise here May 23-26.

The purpose of the exercise was to complete a training and exercise employment plan to prepare the Marines for an upcoming Afghanistan deployment.

The Marines made full use of Camp Pendleton’s hills and mountains, setting up a campsite and operating across the base’s vast ranges and training grounds. The four-day operation gave them opportunities to practice their radio communication skills including antenna and communication set up. 

Communication is essential during combat missions. A mission could be adversely affected by loss of communication.

There have been many instances where intelligence was received from different aspects of radio, and had to be passed immediately to literally save lives, said Lance Cpl. Travis Livermore, special intelligence system administrator and communicator with 1st Radio Bn.  

“People’s lives depend on what we do,” Livermore said. “If we can communicate properly and efficiently, it has, and will continue to save many lives.”

The training tested each Marine’s ability to solve problems, and it strengthened any weaknesses allowing effective communication.  

The Marines spent hours hiking hills and valleys and established communication in every scenario they could think of while overcoming difficulties. Different scenarios simulated malfunctions or obscurities like mountains or large valleys which made it difficult to transmit communication.

Livermore said if Marines are on one side of a mountain and can’t use a line of sight frequency, they have to figure out ways to bounce radio signals off objects like satellites or other radio transmitters to communicate. 

Despite the scenarios, situations, multiple mountains and miles between them, the Marines prevailed and established communication. The four-day-long training event helped Marines better acclimate themselves with radio equipment and other possible scenarios they will use in Afghanistan.

They need to know as many ways to transmit as possible, said 1st Lt. David Miller, communications platoon commander for 1st Radio Bn. They are out here building off each other so they are experts in every aspect of radio.