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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit
I Marine Expeditionary Force

Sep 4, 2011

Sgt. Robert Brown prepares to fill helium into a communications balloon aboard the amphibious assault ship Makin Island off Southern California’s coast Sept. 4. The balloon is designed to carry a radio relay up to 80,000 feet above Earth, extending communications to an area 600 miles in diameter, regardless of terrain. Brown, a 27-year-old Chicago native, serves as assistant radio chief for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s command element. The unit embarked Makin Island and the amphibious transport dock New Orleans in San Diego Sept. 1 to begin its second seagoing exercise since becoming a complete Marine air-ground task force in May.

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