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 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit

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.”


Marine Corps News

Colonel Thomas M. Siverts
Commanding Officer

Colonel Tom Siverts is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1989. He achieved a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program following his graduation from the University of Virginia in May 1999. Colonel Siverts has deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. His other operational deployments include serving with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/8, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU); BLT 3/8, 22d MEU; BLT 2/8, 26th MEU, and Task Force 61/2.

Read Biography

Lieutenant Col. Steven M. Sprigg
Executive Officer

LtCol Sprigg was born in Parkersburg, WV. LtCol Sprigg enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in September 2004 and recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. LtCol Sprigg was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 2008. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011 and reported to HMLAT-303 for training as an AH-1W pilot. LtCol Sprigg is currently serving as the Executive Officer for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Camp Pendleton, California.

Read Biography

Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.Staff Sergeant DeBarr completed two combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2005 to April 2006 and again form March 2007 to September 2007. While serving with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, First Sergeant DeBarr completed one combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, from October 2012 to May 2013. Sergeant Major DeBarr currently serves as the Sergeant Major for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Read Biography