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Lance Cpl. Jared M. Wilkison, 19, a radio operator with Headquarters and Support Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, practices operating a radio after a class on the new radio system in Hit, Iraq, Oct. 5. When new radios were installed into the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, it was critical that everyone in the vehicles learned how to operate them in order to accomplish the mission.::r::::n::

Photo by Lance Cpl. Sean P. Cummins

Every Marine is a Radio Operator

10 Oct 2008 | Lance Cpl. Sean P. Cummins

Even in Iraq, the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 are training on new equipment, proving it’s never too late to learn something new.

When new radios were installed into the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, it was critical that everyone in the vehicles learned how to operate them in order to accomplish the mission.

"When communication goes down and you don’t have a [radio operator] in the back of the truck, you have to be able to get the radio back up and running so you can still communicate throughout the convoy,” said Lance Cpl. Brad W. Nelson, 19, a squad automatic weapon gunner for Weapons Company, 3rd Bn., 7th Marines from Waukesha, Wis.

Because the radios are a new system, it’s important that classes on the radios are taught very thoroughly and that everyone gets a chance to use the radios.

“I didn’t get to learn this (radio) in communication school; we actually just had them given to us,” said Sgt. Justin D. Burges, 23, a radio operator with Weapons Co. from Winona Lake, Ind. “This system is brand new, especially to the Marine Corps.  When some of the Marines actually looked at it, they were a little puzzled.  It’s hard to teach someone when it’s not really their (job)— you just break it down (as simple as possible).”

When there are multiple trucks on the road with many radios, it is impossible for one Marine to troubleshoot all of the problems for all of the trucks.  This is why it’s essential that all the Marines involved in a convoy understand not only how to operate the radios, but troubleshoot them as well.

“If anything goes wrong with the communications, now anybody in the truck is going to know how to fix it.  “We can all help out,” said Lance Cpl. Robert D. Read, a driver for Weapons Co.

Understanding the importance of communication and practicing on the radios allows the Marines to be more competent with their equipment.

“Communication is always key,” said Read, 19, from Tacoma, Wash. “All I knew was the correct buttons to push; I didn’t understand how it worked or what exactly I was doing. (The training) helped me understand radios themselves in more detail.  When you know how things actually work, it makes you understand it a lot better than when you just know what buttons to push.”


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