Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Michael W. Tupper, from Spokane, Wash., sets up a Wireless Point-to-Point Link device here while training with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit Nov. 21. The WPPL device was set up while members of the MEU’s Joint Task Force Enabler instructed Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 11 and Battalion Landing Team 2/4 how to operate equipment used for enabling email, internet, and phone services.

Photo by Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

Marines pass knowledge, better 11th MEU capabilities

24 Nov 2009 | Cpl. Jeffrey Belovarac

Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Joint Task Force Enabler shared technical skills with Marines within the MEU here Nov. 21-23.

JTFE Marines spent three days teaching Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 11, and Battalion Landing Team 2/4’s Headquarters and Support Company. The training was done to better the 11th MEU’s communication capabilities.

“Every time we meet up with these guys we’re learning something,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob P. Crego, from Mansfield, Ohio. “The best thing about working with different units is that you can always learn different ways to run things more efficiently.”

The Marines were ashore practicing its expeditionary capabilities Nov. 20-24. Part of the MEU’s exercise was setting up a forward operating base.

One key aspect of a FOB is its ability to communicate externally to commanders and other units, said Sgt. Eric S. Gremban, JTFE data chief.

“We need to be able to have the command element one place and have it push all its services to individual companies and FOBs,” said Gremban. “That will only happen if we get the BLT and CLB a little more familiarized with some of our more advanced gear.”

The two systems the Marines trained with allow for units in the field to access internet, email and phone networks and transfer those same capabilities to other outposts.

One system Marines worked with was the Wireless Point-to-Point Link, or WPPL. This system has a pole that can extend to 30 feet to reach its maximum communication range. The device allows data to transfer directly from one WPPL to another over long distances.

The other piece of equipment was the Support Wide-Area Network. The SWAN bridges communications by sending and receiving data through satellites.

“You have satellite guys, data guys, and radio guys,” said Gremban, a Kalamazoo, Mich. native. “These mesh together the whole system, so it can be difficult to learn.”

The Marines who trained with the WPPL and SWAN systems had to learn how to use them out of necessity. In future training the MEU and its subordinate elements will rely on these systems to carry out their operations. The Marines who trained here will set up and manage the devices.

“We came ashore just to do this training,” said Gremban. “It’s absolutely critical training. Without it we wouldn’t be able to do a number of operations.”

The communication Marines with CLB 11 and BLT 2/4 received their new WPPL and SWAN systems earlier this year and will implement them during future 11th MEU exercises.

“We’re going to be deploying these systems a couple times a day,” said Cpl. Joshua D. Hallanan, from Paso Robles, Calif. “We better get good at it now before the time hits.”


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Colonel Jim W. Lively
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Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit