NORTHERN TERRITORY, Australia -- Few plans survive contact with the enemy. No plan survives without a group of men and women standing behind the scenes tying all units together into a cohesive whole.
In order for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015 to adhere to the commanders’ plans, U.S. Marines with 7th Communication Battalion established communication channels in Australia before the majority of the personnel arrived.
Talisman Sabre is a bilateral training exercise between the U.S. Armed Forces and the Australian Defence Force designed to improve interoperability and readiness. More than 33,000 personnel are involved in the biennial exercise.
While the role of Marines in the communication battalion is often overlooked during exercises, there is no doubt communication is vital for any exercise. The main goal of communication specialists is to create a real-time transfer of data.
“You can’t do anything without communications,” said Cpl. Shea P. Nolan, a tropospheric scatter radio multi-channel equipment operator and maintainer with 7th Communication Battalion from Wallington, New Jersey. “If communications are down, then everyone else isn’t able to do their job, so we are the vital link that keeps everybody together and keeps everything going.”
In a military activity as large as Talisman Sabre, which includes a full gamut of ground, air, sea, intelligence, cyber and practically every military asset the nations control, communication becomes exponentially complex.
Talisman Sabre has units across the Pacific in Australia, Okinawa and Hawaii with more than 13,000 miles separating the locations. Communication specialists are using ground mobile force terminals to send data signals on multiple frequencies to a satellite located 30,000 miles in space. Transmissions are received through carriers on the satellite and repeated to other ground locations.
“We as a communications battalion allow everybody to join together to do their part in a cohesive manner,” said CWO2 Robert M. Childree, an operations officer with 7th Communication Battalion.
During Talisman Sabre, time is essential. Vital information needs to be readily accessible at all times and communication makes that possible.
“We’re not running letters by horse anymore. It’s all about speed,” said Childree from Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
In this day and age the world is dependent on technology. Establishing a secure and ready to use network is a necessity. Without communication specialists, military commands would not be able to effectively lead their troops.
7th Comm. Bn. is with III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF, currently attached to 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade for the exercise.