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    Joint Task Force Enabler leads the way for PHIBLEX 15

    Joint Task Force Enabler leads the way for PHIBLEX 15

    Photo By Cpl. Matt Myers | U.S. Marines Cpl. Arthur Chou and Lance Cpl. Jeremy Briggs operate a very small...... read more read more

    PUERTO PRINCESA, PHILIPPINES

    09.21.2014

    Story by Lance Cpl. Matt Myers 

    III Marine Expeditionary Force   

    ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES NAVAL FORCES WEST HEADQUARTERS, PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN, Philippines – U.S. Marines with Joint Task Force Enabler, 7th Communications Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF set-up communications equipment in preparation for Amphibious Landing Exercise 15 at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Naval Forces West Headquarters, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.

    The equipment will provide essential communications to commanders and staff which will allow fluid coordination of events throughout PHIBLEX.

    “The commanding general cannot deploy his troops if he does not have the ability to talk to them, so our job is very important,” said 2nd Lt. Jeffrey B. Edwards, the JTFE platoon commander. “We provide communications support to 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade for any exercise or operation 3rd MEB participates in.”

    To ensure strong connections in the remote areas where parts of the exercise will take place, the Marines will use a very small aperture terminal-large satellite dish that intercepts and distributes communication signals.

    “We are providing satellite transmission services for internet, telecommunications services that allow us to video conference, and radio services,” said Edwards, a Houston, Texas native. “The most important capability is the virtual teleconference which is like a tactical Skype system that allows the commanding general to speak with his subordinate commanders.”

    The VSAT-Large satellite dish is only one component of the gear set needed to allow the JTFE to operate.

    “We brought more than six tons of equipment,” said Cpl. Arthur Chou, a satellite technician with the JTFE. “[The equipment] ranges from walkie-talkies to laptops to generators, and is all required for everything to work. We need independent electricity from the generators to power our satellite dish, and the computers to intercept the information from the satellite, plus all the wiring and components that are necessary.”

    Additionally, the task force is often deployed in advance of the main body of the brigade so it must be a self-sustaining force.
    “We were one of the first units here for PHIBLEX 15,” said Chou, a Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania native. “We bring technicians, engineers, electricians and communications specialists so we can be prepared for any issues since we cannot rely on [main body] support.”

    With only four days to establish and ensure all of the equipment is in place and operational prior to the main body arriving, Marines from the JTFE recognize the expectations and added pressure, according to Joseph D. Budinger.

    “As soon as we arrive in country, the pressure is instantly on to get things set up,” said Budinger, the JTFE maintenance chief. “We advertise to 3rd MEB and III MEF that we have the capabilities to get all communications up and running 96 hours after we get into the country.”

    Because maintaining communications is a constant process, there is always an engineer and technician awake and ready to respond to a problem.

    “This equipment is running 24 hours a day so we are running 24 hours a day as well,” said Budinger. “At the end of the day we are the ones who ensure everyone can communicate and get their jobs done. It’s a heavy responsibility but most of us wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.21.2014
    Date Posted: 09.27.2014 05:00
    Story ID: 143459
    Location: PUERTO PRINCESA, PH 
    Hometown: CHESAPEAKE, VA, US
    Hometown: HOUSTON, TX, US
    Hometown: SAYLORSBURG, PA, US

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    Joint Task Force Enabler leads the way for PHIBLEX 15