Marines prep for ITX

Marines set up a radio antenna during a field training exercise on Marne Corps Air Station Beaufort. The field training exercise was conducted in preparation for the 4th Marine Regiment’s Integrated Training exercise scheduled for five weeks in mid October through November.

Marine Wing Support Detachment 31 conducted field training aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to prepare for an upcoming exercise, Aug. 29-31. The three day field training exercise was conducted for the 4th Marine Regiment’s Integrated Training Exercise which will take place aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.

"We are training now to make sure we provide the best support for the different flying squadrons as they go out and do their missions during the ITX," said Sgt. Marcus Jackson, radio supervisor with MWSD-31. "Service is everything. Without communication the mission cannot be successful; the commander’s intent cannot be met."

The unit set up tents, generators, and antennas in a field across from the detachment. In three days they set up, tested their communication equipment and technical proficiency, and tore it all down again.

"We are responsible for ensuring the units flying from MCAS Cherry Point, MCAS Yuma, and MCAS Beaufort have communication support," said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Hogue, the communications chief with MWSD-31. "We will have our wiremen set up telephone wires, cyber network guys set up the computers, and radiomen to support communication."

The emphasis of this training exercise was mission readiness. By preforming their missions and tasks here in a controlled environment, the unit made sure that every member understands their role in the mission. The exercise was a small practice of what they will do on a much larger scale in the ITX.

"In the radio section we run long range high frequency radios and close range very high frequency radios," said Jackson. "It’s important that we train here, get as much knowledge as possible before we get into real situations."

The ITX is scheduled to run for five weeks during mid October through November. MWSD-31 communications will be providing communication for the aviation combat element throughout the ITX.

"The Integrated Training Exercise will have multiple units coming together to do joint training to prepare whatever missions we might see in the future," said Hogue. "We could deploy at any time. With this we can work out all the kinks before ITX."

This year will be different for MWSD-31. They will be providing the same communication support with eleven Marines. That is about half the amount of people they have had in the past.

"This ITX will be new because typically a squadron has supported communication, but now we are a detachment," said Hogue. "We will have half the manpower. Including myself we only have twenty one Marines. Only half of us will be going. It will be a challenge, a learning experience."

The field training provided the knowledge and experience that will help the Marines provide the best communication support they can when they land at Marine Corps Ground Counter Center. Twentynine Palms. They are scheduled to do more field training this month to continue to prepare for the integrated training exercise.