News: 7th Communications Battalion tests indoor capset
Story by Sgt. Rebekka Heite
OKINAWA, Japan - 7th Communication Battalion Marines turned the Combined Arms Staff Trainer building here into an indoor capability set Dec. 6.
A capset is a combat operations center that is normally set up in tents in field conditions. The indoor capset was configured using all the components of a field capset except for the tents and generators.
This is the first time we are setting up the combat operations center using the components from a capset indoors, said Capt. Cameron Evans, operations officer for 7th Communications Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF.
Not only had it never been done before, it also provided an indoors environment for the Marines to conduct necessary software upgrades needed to maintain the equipment, and it provided a layout that other MEF units can use during upcoming exercises, especially during typhoon season, said Evans.
When Okinawa is placed in Typhoon Condition 2, like what happened during Ulchi Freedom Guardian, Aug. 2011, all capsets must be taken down and stored to protect them from the incoming typhoon, said Evans.
Then they are set back up, he said. That wastes a lot of manpower, time and money, Evans said. With the indoor capability, if a typhoon is expected, the units conducting the exercise now have the option of setting up their combat operations center indoors and not having to worry about the weather.
Using the indoor set up will also save time and money on gas because convoys and water bowls won’t be necessary, Evans said.
Another benefit of the indoor set up is the ability to train more people at the same time.
The tent capsets limit the number of users to 150, because of space constraints; with the indoor unit, 350 Marines can be trained at one time, said Chief Warrant Officer Larry Sheehan, telephone officer for 7th Communications Battalion.
At the indoor capset, 7th Communications Battalion set up 12 more stations than the tents currently allow, and another 24 stations can be set up, which means an additional 60-80 Marines can participate in the training, he added.
The CAST building is designed with separate rooms for different staff sections. Marines going through the training have the feeling of being miles apart with only a shut door, said Sean Dominey, system administrator for CAST. The building was upgraded in May.
The indoor layout could also be used if something real world happens, as with Operation Tomodachi earlier this year, he said.
In addition to being used as a combat operations center, the CAST building is also used for other training opportunities, including some Block 1 and 2 predeployment training.
Specific trainers available include Deployable Virtual Training Environment and Combined Arms Command and Control Training Upgrade Systems, said Dominey.
DVTE is a first-person, skills-sustainment trainer that instructs Marines from the individual to the battalion-staff level by using a simulation network with reconfigurable workstations, he explained.
CACCTUS provides training at various levels starting from the individual forward observer or fire support team up to a full infantry battalion with a 3D view of the battle space.
For more information or to schedule training at the CAST building, call 623-7330 or 623-7324