AL ASAD, Iraq -- Communications are vital for commanders to direct their subordinate units on the battlefield. A variety of communication assets are necessary for success in combat. Commanders use all forms of communication to inform their Marines of their next objective.
The 21 Marines from Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28’s detachment here ensure the communication systems are ready to use for all aspects of the Marines mission.
“Without us not one aircraft would fly or medical evacuation mission be organized,” said 2nd Lt. Michael C. Yu, detachment officer in charge, MWCS-28. “Our infantry units would not be able to call in air strikes. Without us there would be no communications.”
The Marines provide communication support to all air elements aboard Al Qaim. The squadron also helps Marines on the battlefield when they are having communications problems.
“We have a data technician who is always lending a hand to our ground counter-parts,” Yu, a Charlottesville, Va., native said. “We are all on the same team, so when they need assistants we are glad to help out where we can.”
The communication squadrons Marines were hand selected to be a part of the Al Qaim team.
“Our Marines have a big responsibility on their shoulders,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jason Kruzel, detachment staff noncommissioned officer in charge, MWCS-28. “We have corporals and lance corporals filling staff NCO billets out here.”
The Marines have shown they are up to the task and are performing admirably, according to Kruzel, a Selany, Texas native.
“Our Marines have been chosen by their respective sections to be a part of this detachment,” Kruzel said. “They are expected to know more than just their jobs here. Our Marines have to know more about how their specific job fits into the grand scheme of things rather than just their one piece of the puzzle.”
Since arriving, Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 has improved the reliability of communication systems by 30 percent, according to Yu.
“When the Marines we replaced were here they had a 60 percent reliability rate with their communication systems,” He said. “Since we have been on the job it has improved to 90 percent and we are always looking for ways to improve.”
Part of the unit’s success has been the implementation of a new communication system, the lightweight multi-band satellite terminal. The new system allows the unit to receive up to four separate frequencies to have more reliable communications.
“This system sends information to a satellite more than 28,000 miles away using only nine watts of power,” said Cpl. Caleb Dodd, satellite operator and Gallatin, Tenn., native. “The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing is the first unit ever to deploy with this piece of gear. It is very reliable because everything on it has a back-up system.”
The satellite system enables Marines to call back to the states or anywhere in the world while improving network capabilities in a forward environment. Although it requires a lot of troubleshooting, it is well worth it to the operators who offer others the opportunity to communicate, throughout the area of responsibility.
Communications assets can set the pace in combat; sometimes a person’s life may depend on it. Marines, who make it their business to reach out touch someone, are force multipliers who allow commanders to communicate important information to marines in the fight.
“I’m happy to be a part of this unit,” Dodd said. “Providing communication is essential in this war and I’m glad I’m doing my part to aid the Global War on Terrorism.”
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