CAMP LEJEUNE --
Orders not heard aren't followed. Calls for fire incapable of being transmitted are never filled. Marines who can’t communicate effectively lose lives in combat.
As the U.S. Marine Corps undergoes a force restructure to modernize for the next era, Marines in the radio transmissions occupational field aren’t without their own improvements.
Marines from various units across 2d Marine Division (MARDIV) participated in the 2d MARDIV High-Frequency (HF) Competition throughout the East Coast from July 12-16, 2021. The competition enhanced HF transmission proficiency and capabilities to prepare Marines for future expeditionary conflicts where areas fought in may either be contested or degraded.
The competition started in Camp Lejeune, but it was separated into two races: the northern route and southern route. Each direction had around five teams competing, and they were graded on if they could make the required HF transmissions at required stops in an allotted time.
Cpl. Leo Yoon, a Rockville, Maryland, native, and a transmissions system operator, and his 2d Marine Regiment team took the southern route, which included stops in Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, and Camp Blanding, Florida.
“We are rotating through four different sites south of Camp Lejeune and sending back HF voice and data checks to our communications company in North Carolina,” Yoon said. “We are using a new [Barker-Williamson] antenna, and once we get it and our radios are set up, we have a specific time slot we have to conduct the HF shot in.”
The competition gives younger Marines confidence in using their equipment, from understanding what kind of footprint it has to how quickly a large file can be sent over HF, according to Gunnery Sgt. Mark Scales, a Port St. Lucie, Florida, native, and the transmissions chief of 2d Marine Regiment.
“The second side to the competition is that it pulls us away from our reliance on satellites and helps the transmissions occupational field evolve to be a lot more mobile for expeditionary advanced base operations in littoral environments,” Scales said.
Expeditionary advanced base operations are outlined as part of the commandant of the Marine Corps’ planning guidance and are a foundational part of the HF Competition. Extensive training on new operating concepts are expected to make 2d MARDIV more optimized to combat peer threats as the premier naval expeditionary force in any future conflict.