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A Marine with Company B, Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 stands guard during a communications field exercise at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., March 3, 2016. MWCS-28 incorporates numerous systems ranging from single-channel radios to systems with an emphasis on interoperability and beyond line-of-sight communications for a broad spectrum of information services. During the exercise, Bravo Company provided their own Tactical Air Operations Center, Tactical Air Command Center and simulated unmanned aerial vehicle squadron requests, giving the Marines a broader understanding on what roles requesting agencies play during operations within a communications squadron. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Nicholas P. Baird/Released)

Photo by Pfc. Nicholas P. Baird

MWCS-28 Marines test interoperability skills during field exercise

7 Mar 2016 | Pfc. Nicholas P. Baird Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

To simulate services provided to requesting agencies, Company B with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 conducted a field exercise developing mission critical skills in support of potential requests from various agencies at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Feb. 29 - March 6.

During the exercise, Bravo Company provided their own Tactical Air Operations Center, Tactical Air Command Center and simulated unmanned aerial vehicle squadron requests, giving the Marines a broader understanding on what roles requesting agencies play during operations within a communications squadron.

MWCS-28 incorporates numerous systems ranging from single-channel radios to systems with an emphasis on interoperability and beyond line-of-sight communications, for a broad spectrum of information services. These services include video, multimedia, data, and imagery which enable the Aviation Combat Element to function with reliable communications architecture.

“Everything that went into this training exercise was designed to be difficult, and we did a great job executing this,” said Gunnery Sgt. John L. Fletcher, a data network systems chief with the squadron. “There was a lot of cross training going on, and through that cross training, we gained a better knowledge on how we integrate with our own sections and how the different services work together. Everyone learned a lot, and it’s been a great opportunity to find those key troubleshooting figures.”

According to Fletcher, the exercise sharpened the minds of the Marines who are becoming more effective at reacting to troubleshooting common issues that happen on deployments, while also better serving the wing to ensure communications are up and aircraft are in the air.

“A lot of the new Marines don’t particularly know what the Marine Air Communications Squadron agencies do,” said 1st Lt. Natasha Bentz, an air support control officer with Marine Air Support Squadron 1. “Working as our own agencies showed the Marines the structure of the MACS and what their exact role is in each of those agencies.”

According to Bentz, the Marines benefitted from the ground aspect of the training as for some it may have been the first time in the field since completing Marine Combat Training.

“The Marines are learning a lot from this training, to include simulating their jobs in the MACS agencies,” said Bentz. “Living in a tactical field environment while maintaining their roles in the training, teaches the Marines how to be well-rounded communicators.”


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