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Marines from Communications Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, set up the fairly new M142C radio attached to the Tactical Elevated Antennae Mast System antenna during a training exercise held aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., March 17, 2010. The M142C radio can send up to 16,000 times more data than the older M142A. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Meghan J. Canlas)

Photo by Cpl. Meghan J. Canlas

Logistics Marines reach new heights with improved radio

19 Mar 2010 | Cpl. Meghan J. Canlas

In 1899 when Guglielmo Marconi sent the letter “S” across the English Channel in one of the first instances of wireless communication, he did so by using a directional antenna that sent data similar to Morse code.

Little did he know that in just over 100 years, 16 megabytes of data would be sent over radio waves with the Marine Corps newest radio system - M142C radio.

To increase their level of knowledge with this equipment, the Marines of Radio Platoon, Communications Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 27, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, trained with the radio system, March 17-18, in preparation for future deployments.

The M142A, predecessor to the M142C, was only able to pass 576 kilobytes of data, a huge difference compared to 16 megabytes, said Sgt John D. Benson, radio supervisor, Radio Platoon.  

"During combat deployments there are forward operating bases and combat outposts that need services to communicate to the main base.  This system provides the capability to do that," he said.

The M142C radio system comes in vehicle and trailer variants, and was attached to the Tactical Elevated Antennae Mast System, which can reach a height of 112 feet. 

“The antenna is really good for training here on base because it can reach above the trees,” said Benson.  “It could also be used in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan.”

Sgt. Cory D. Taylor, a multi-channel radio supervisor with Comm. Company, Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, helped train the Marines, who have little experience with the new system.

“From setting up to tearing down, practice makes perfect,” said Taylor, who has 10 months of experience with the radio.  “The Marines are learning very quickly.  Even from just watching how to [set the system up,] they knew what to do.”

Taylor said even though he is with a different command, the top priority was training the Marines regardless of what unit they were with.

“The goal is to teach the Marines how to properly and safely set-up out here, so they can learn from their mistakes and know how to correctly do it [in the future]” he said.  “It doesn’t matter what unit I’m with, we are one team, one fight.”


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