MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
U.S. military forces are noted for working side-by-side with foreign forces across the globe. Eighth Communications Battalion will have the chance to experience world-wide camaraderie as they deploy to Lager Aulenbach, Germany, April 25 to May 19, in support of Exercise Combined Endeavor 2008.
Combined Endeavor is the world’s largest communications exercise. Forty-three nations will bring more than 1,250 participants to Germany to test and document the countries’ communications equipment capabilities and interoperability.
Approximately 25 Marines with Satellite Platoon will add to Combined Endeavor’s multi-national mix.
“We’re excited about getting to know hundreds of people from other nations,” said Staff Sgt. Dwane Johnson, a radio chief with Satellite Platoon, 8th Communications Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force. “I’m interested to see the differences between our communicational assets and what various other countries possess.”
The Marines prepared for Combined Endeavor by simulating the exercise aboard Camp Lejeune April 14-18.
“We had a mock set-up of what we will encounter in Germany,” said Johnson.
While deployed, the battalion will work with multiple countries, including Afghanistan. The main objective is to learn how to properly link U.S. communications systems with foreign systems. This will allow the United States, its allies and potential coalition partner nations to operate smoothly if the need arises.
“We plan to demonstrate information sharing and test interoperability,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Haken, the Combined Endeavor detachment officer-in-charge. “We’ll learn how to bring the nations into a coalition network. Then, we will collect the connectivity information from each country to use for future reference.”
The exercise also gives the Marines a chance to train in a new environment.
“Every opportunity we get to set up our gear is training,” Haken said. “This time we really get a chance to step out of the box and train in an unfamiliar place.”
Haken has no doubt the Marines will go above and beyond what is expected of them in Germany.
“The Marines are going to be outstanding,” Haken said. “We have some Marines that have been working in the communications field for a long time and some that haven’t. This gives them a chance to come together to learn and work as a team.”
The Marines in the battalion aren’t the only team joined together by Combined Endeavor. The exercise continues to unite nations, one network at a time.