News: 3rd MEB Marines make historic noise with a CHIME
Story by Gunnery Sgt. J. L. Wright Jr.
PAMPANGA PROVINCE, Philippines – Civil affairs Marines from 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade are making history by using a new piece of gear in support of Amphibious Landing Exercise 2011, a bilateral training exercise conducted with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and is designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness and continue to build professional relationships between the two countries.
Since the initiation of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, the Marine Corps has taken a serious interest in Civil-Military Operations.
The Security Cooperation Education and Training Center said in an article that “ … the operating environment will remain a complex, densely populated, and urban one, where challenges from younger and more disenfranchised societies driven by cultural, political, and historical conditions will require a Marine Corps fully prepared to employ a MAGTF across the range of military operations. To succeed in such environments, a MAGTF must have the integral capability to plan and execute civil-military operations and to seamlessly integrate interagency activities into these operations.”
Because of the complexity of today's battlefield, it is imperative that Marine Corps civil affairs personnel have the capability to capitalize on each others knowledge.
A piece of gear is helping with the sharing of knowledge is the CHIME. A relatively new handheld device that is used similar to a Palm Pilot to input and transmit data to a server where other individuals can access the information uploaded, according to Lance Cpl. Collin Kosiba, Cheyenne, Wyo. native and civil affairs Marine for 3d MEB.
“This device allows us to make assessments throughout our [Area of Responsibility] and upload our data so other civil affairs personnel can access it,” he said.
Any data of significant interest is uploaded by the CA teams from virtually anywhere in the world, Kosiba added.
“I can type exactly what took place in a certain area, the areas demographics and key leaders within the area,” Kosiba said, adding that each uplink also transmits GPS coordinates.
Once the data is transmitted, it can be easily accessed via the internet by any CA Marine, or anyone with access or the need to know.
According to Maj. Horace J. C. Bly, civil affairs officer, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, the CHIME was previously used for medical missions; and, after witnessing its potential, the III Marine Expeditionary Force CA detachment petitioned the Marine Forces Pacific Center of Excellence to provide the unit with several.
“The system had to be slightly modified, but we soon received 25 units to field,” Bly said. “Now, when the teams are conducting civil reconnaissance or they have a Key Leader Engagement with someone like a Barangay captain here in the Philippines, they can upload phone numbers, infrastructure assessments, surface deficiencies and other information through a data uplink.”
Following a brief two-day seminar on the use of the device, Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade began employing the device in the field.
“It's been a great asset during the planning and execution of Phiblex '11,” said Sgt. Kaine H. Marzola, Las Vegas native and civil affairs noncommissioned officer, 3d MEB. “It's a great piece of gear!”