Communications Marines train to support Ryukyu Warrior
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines took part in a communications exercise here Nov. 15 to prepare for Exercise Ryukyu Warrior 2013.
The Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Air Control Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, used the training to prepare for Ryukyu Warrior, the annual Marine air command and control systems training exercise.
During Ryukyu Warrior, which is scheduled to be conducted in mid-December, the MWSS-172 Marines will provide communications support for 1st MAW at Ie Shima training facility, located on Ie Shima, Okinawa prefecture.
"This is a six-day training evolution where we are simulating being in the field and letting the Marines get comfortable using all of the equipment," said Staff Sgt. Nelton Benard III, a wire chief with the squadron. "By training like this, things will go much smoother for us once we get on site for the exercise."
Ryukyu Warrior is an annual, joint, unit-level training exercise conducted locally between elements of 1st MAW, III MEF, the Air Force's 18th Wing, U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa and the Army's 1-1 Air Defense Artillery Battalion.
This method of training is not unfamiliar to the Marines of MWSS-172, according to Cpl. William Z. Henson, a field wireman with the squadron.
"I have been a part of multiple exercises in the Asia-Pacific region, and before each one, we conduct training like this," said Henson. "This training evolution is very in-depth. Our training always prepares us for upcoming exercises."
Whether it is an exercise or operation, the Marines bring various communications capabilities to the table, according to Bernard.
"We have several sections conducting this training," said Bernard. "Our wire section handles all of the phone lines, the data section sets up our internet capabilities, and the radio section takes care of all the single-wave communications as well as setting up a satellite link."
The Marines familiarized themselves with their equipment through repetition, according to Lance Cpl. Christopher G. Martinez, a data network specialist with the squadron.
"This type of training helps the Marines become more fluid and efficient while performing their jobs," said Martinez. "It gives the Marines a chance to focus on and learn more aspects about their job."
This method of training has proven effective, according to Henson.
"We set up and take down the equipment repeatedly so our junior Marines will have plenty of experience," said Henson. "This is a good opportunity to give our Marines a chance to experience all the things they may be required to do when we do go to Ie Shima for Ryukyu Warrior or any other exercise or operation in a field environment."
The training not only made each Marine more proficient in their jobs, but also gave them a chance to increase proficiency as a group, according to Martinez.
"We have come closer together as a unit during this training," said Martinez.
"We have to work with each other to get everything set up and communicate with one another to accomplish the task given to us. I feel we are prepared for Ryukyu Warrior."