Marines go GREENS during Blue Chromite
CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan -- Communication Marines from 4th Marine Regiment are testing a portable solar power system on Camp Schwab Nov. 1-7 during exercise Blue Chromite 15.
According to the Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office mission statement, the Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy System is a step toward the Marine Corps’ goal of powering all non-transportation related assets of deployed commands without the use of fuel by 2025.
At Camp Schwab, GREENS provided electricity for the exercise command center within 24 hours of set up. Generators can be bulky, time consuming and require a large group to set up. The GREENS can take five to 15 minutes to set by one, small group. The system can be carried by one person and is about the size of a suitcase.
Apart from size and speed, GREENS can also be advantageous by reducing costs and supply lines. Smaller supply lines that traditionally move dangerous resources, such as diesel fuel used by generators, can reduce the footprint and security needed to operate in unfamiliar environments. Fuel convoys have often been a key target to enemy forces due to their slow, predictable travel and highly explosive contents.
“In a combat or operational environment this will work great. It is a lot lighter and easier to carrier,” said Staff Sgt. Jontue D. Kinnie the radio chief for Communications Platoon, Headquarters and Service Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “You can now get the same amount of power and use these items in places where it would be tough to take generators.
“Marines can now recharge their batteries and equipment without having to depend on a resupply,” said Kinnie from Gadsden, Alabama. “It keeps the Marines who are out in the fight more mobile for a substantial amount of time.”
GREENS does not require training courses to setup and operate. The process is simple. A Marine sets up the solar panels facing toward the sun and then connects color coded cables to corresponding slots. The machines can gather power during a cloudy day.
“The equipment is easy to use, maintain and setup,” said 1st Lt. Song L. Chen, the platoon commander for Comm. Plt. “Anyone from the highest master guns all the way to the lowest PFC fresh out of school can set this equipment up with ease.”
Marines can also gain added confidence when GREENS is paired with traditional sources of energy.
“The GREENS puts a feeling of extra security in your head,” said Pfc. Brett M. Rodzos, a field radio operator with Comm. Plt. “If something goes wrong with your energy you’re not completely helpless. We now have a plan B, and that is reassuring especially in a combat or operational environment.”
Blue Chromite, a 4th Marine Regiment led exercise, demonstrates the Navy and Marine Corps’ amphibious and expeditionary capabilities from sea to shore. Rehearsing integration of arms in a tactical scenario and testing new technology can prepares Marines and sailors for future deployments.