MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- A plastic bag and a roll of duct-tape are all a Marine radio operator would need to weatherproof his PRC-119 radio for the wettest or sandiest environments. This is just one of many common sense solutions 19 radio operators from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit learned during the Communication Noncommissioned Officer’s Course here, July 27.
During the eight-day course lance corporals, corporals and sergeants learned a few of the latest communication skills by taking part in 30 separate classes devoted to the PRC-119.
“This course is a fundamental link in the experience and building process for Marines in the communications community. It provides NCO’s and senior lance corporals a formal education in their field to bridge the gap from initial schools to radio, wire and data chief courses,” said Staff Sgt. C. J. Johnson, Comm. NCO Course director, Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific (EWTGCPAC).
The course teaches the participants skills they can later teach other Marines in their unit, Johnson added.
Although most already know the nuts and bolts of their occupational specialty, the courses’ advanced training came as a surprise for some students.
“We used the basics that we learned from MOS school and we applied certain things, but this course was a lot more challenging,” said Cpl. Joshua D. Langston, radio operator, 11th MEU. “It made me look into things that I thought I would never have to deal with. Things like, ‘What do we do when we’re with an infantry unit?’ or ‘What do we do when we’re with the air wing?’”
According to Langston because of the course, the radio operators got a feel for what it’s like to work with every type of unit in the Marine Corps.
“By using the Marine Air-Ground Task Force model for communications in the course, the Marines in the Air Combat Element will gain insight on communications operations in the Command Element, Ground Combat Element, and Combat Service Support Element,” said Johnson.
Also, the students got their hands on plenty of gear that was all but foreign to them.
“It’s great that most of the equipment we’ve been using I’ve never used before,” added Langston.
“I can’t wait to apply all this in the fleet so we can show all the Marines in our shop what we learned,” Langston said.
After all the exams, lectures, demonstrations and practical applications were done, the students’ final test included a real-life radio communication with Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., the headquarters of EWTGPAC.
In the end, every Marine graduated and walked out of his classroom with a better perspective on his job and a better idea of what to expect in the future.
“I feel more confident in my job, and I and I know that I will apply all that I have been taught in the fleet and the field,” said Cpl. Tarrin Riddick, radio operator, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.
The Expeditionary Warfare Training Group Pacific gives 11 Comm. NCO Course classes per year. For more information on the Comm. NCO Course or any other courses that the command provides, go to http://www.ewtgpac.navy.mil/index2.htm.