CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines from 4th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Corps Forces Reserve, conducted Exercise Lightning Strike, their annual training exercise, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, July 28-30, 2015. This year, the communications for the exercise were enhanced by support from the Soldiers of 4th Joint Communications Squadron, Joint Communications Support Element (Airborne), U.S. Army Reserves.
Soldiers with 4th JCS, the only airborne reserve unit in the U.S. Army, came to Camp Pendleton to provide equipment and personnel to enhance data transmission during the exercise.
“It’s our job to make sure the guys out in the field can communicate continuously,” said Army Sgt. Maj. Maureen Simpkins, the operations sergeant major for 4th JSC. “We brought equipment which allows connectivity through both voice and data.”
The knowledge and equipment provided by the Soldiers of 4th JCS made a noticeable difference in the flow of the exercise.
“They’ve been helping a lot with the communications and setting up our command operations center. They’re a good support unit and they’ve been backing us with anything we need,” said Lance Cpl. Juan Duran, a supply administrator with 4th ANGLICO.
Duran said that this was his first experience working side-by-side with Soldiers and he was impressed by their efficiency.
“Whenever we have a problem with the equipment or something, they will step in,” said Duran. “Regardless of their rank, they are very proficient in their field.”
Marine Cpl. McKay Blackford, an electrical equipment engineer systems technician with 4th ANGLICO, said that by integrating the services for the exercise everyone learned a lot.
“They’ve been able to come out here and teach our data guys all their expertise from their side and we’ve shown them a lot about the radio side of things,” said Blackford.
Blackford said he enjoyed the opportunity to see another perspective of the job field and to see what can be accomplished through cooperation.
“We all know our objective, we all know what we have to do and we work well as a team,” said Blackford.
Specialist Ian Batson, a satellite communications specialist with 4th JCS, said that the flow of knowledge definitely went both ways.
“We do more satellite communications from a hard site. We’re usually just data, computers, and phones so this is a great opportunity for us,” said Batson.
Batson also said that he is excited to learn about the Marines' leaderships styles and the proficiency of the junior enlisted.
“They’re very confident in their knowledge,” said Batson. “I’m almost hoping something will go wrong so we’ll have a chance to practice troubleshooting.”
While the hands-on experience and practical application of skills are invaluable, added Simpkins, the biggest advantage of this exercise was the opportunity to build a bond between the services.
“It’s the camaraderie, partnership, and contributions that everybody brings to the table,” said Simpkins. “I don’t think we’re really that much different because at the end of the day we’re just people trying to accomplish a mission.”
Both 4th ANGLICO and 4th JSC continue to push themselves to learn as much as possible in order to remain ready to successfully undertake future contingencies and operations.