Photo Information

Marines use a forklift to lift camouflage netting over a tent during 9th Communication Battalion’s field exercise at Camp Pendleton, Sept. 15. During the exercise Marines constructed and operated from tents. The exercise was designed to prepare the Marines for their upcoming deployment.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Mark A. Garcia

9th Comm. conducts battalion level field exercise

15 Sep 2011 | Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno

Marines with 9th Communication Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force, tested their capabilities during a communication exercise here Sept. 15.

The exercise was a battalion level operation in preparation for an upcoming Afghanistan deployment.

“The purpose of the exercise was an opportunity for our new battalion commander to evaluate the battalion’s capabilities as a whole instead of individual companies,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Miska, assistant operation chief for Bravo Co.

The Marines operated at various training sites around Camp Pendleton. The operation gave them opportunities to set up campsites and practice their jobs in a field environment.

“A lot of junior Marines haven’t deployed yet or had the opportunity to set up this gear,” said Sgt. Matthew Garcia, 23-year-old, from Fresno, Calif., tactical switchboard operator with 9th Comm. Bn. “This actually gets them out in the field and gives them a chance to set up their equipment so they can see how everything is laid out and works.”

Communication is crucial while deployed.  This training tested Marines abilities to identify and establish communication with remote sites. It also identified weaknesses and hang-ups such as difficult equipment or unfamiliar set up. The Marines spent hours setting up camp and establishing communication.

“Afghanistan is not the time to be learning your gear,” Garcia said. “The time to learn your gear is back in the rear, so that is what we are doing.”

The field exercise is scheduled to conclude Sept. 23, where the battalion will return to regular activities.