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  • Aug
  • 2018
MAG-13 makes history: 1,600 mile HF shot

By Sgt. David Bickel, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines with Marine Aircraft Group 13 work on communications equipment during Exercise Northern Lightning at Volk Field Counterland Training Center, Camp Douglas, Wis. Aug. 16. Exercise Northern Lightning 2018 allows the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy to strengthen interoperability between services and gives the different branches a greater understanding of aviation capabilities within a joint fighting force.
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Marines with Marine Aircraft Group 13 work on communications equipment during Exercise Northern Lightning at Volk Field Counterland Training Center, Camp Douglas, Wis. Aug. 16. Exercise Northern Lightning 2018 allows the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy to strengthen interoperability between services and gives the different branches a greater understanding of aviation capabilities within a joint fighting force.
Marines with Marine Aircraft Group 13 communicate with Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar utilizing high frequency communication equipment during Exercise Northern Lightning at Volk Field Counterland Training Center, Camp Douglas, Wis. Aug. 16. Exercise Northern Lightning 2018 allows the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy to strengthen interoperability between services and gives the different branches a greater understanding of aviation capabilities within a joint fighting force.
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Marines with Marine Aircraft Group 13 communicate with Marines at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar utilizing high frequency communication equipment during Exercise Northern Lightning at Volk Field Counterland Training Center, Camp Douglas, Wis. Aug. 16. Exercise Northern Lightning 2018 allows the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy to strengthen interoperability between services and gives the different branches a greater understanding of aviation capabilities within a joint fighting force.

Marines with Marine Aircraft Group 13 effectively communicated with air station assets throughout southern California utilizing organic equipment from exercise Northern Lightning at Volk Field Counter Land Training Center, Camp Douglas, Wis., August 16. 

This communication, or "shot" communicating with MCAS Miramar successfully traveled over 1,600 miles crossing the Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon and other large obstacles making this one of the longest shots in MAG-13 history.

"The entire background to completing the shot is the proof of concept that we can send an air trafficking order using high frequency capabilities," said Stacy Vandiver a MAG-13 field radio operator. "Theoretically this asset would assist us on any type of island hopping campaign we would participate in."

Communication or "comm" assets are key to any exercise or operation Marines participate in. Without comm, Marines would not be able to function as a full Marine Air Ground Task Force. 

"This is key in allowing effective communication with the rear," said Vandiver. "We can instantly let them know what planes flew or didn't fly, how many targets were destroyed and if there are any casualties."

In addition to maintaining effective communication, high frequency shots, like the one from Volk Field, are extremely difficult for the enemy to track.

"HF is an extremely reliable source of communication," said LCpl. Arnold Juarez, a MAG-13 radio operator. "Our other systems can be effected by rain and other elements which will not have an effect on HF."

Overall, this shot demonstrated that in rain or shine, Marines will still have communication with their home station.

"Internet and other advanced connections are great and very convenient," said Vandiver. "However, when those fail, we will always have a means of communication to provide command and control points from the rear."