In one of the longest military convoys in recent history, U.S. Marines with 2nd Transportation Battalion, part of 2nd Marine Logistics Group, drove 18 vehicles approximately 2,500 miles from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California.
And they’re driving almost 2,500 miles back, in a continuous mission lasting more than four weeks.
During this convoy, Marines experimented with tactics and procedures for employing “distributed command and control” over vast distances. At each stop along the convoy, they used High Frequency (HF) beyond line-of-sight, highly secure radio communications to regularly speak with an operations center all the way back in Camp Lejeune.
High Frequency radios are an older technology, with military uses dating back to the 1930s. Once a go-to choice for communications, they fell out of favor with the advent of satellite communications and other radio technologies.
“Using HF radios allows us to communicate over great distances without having to rely on other methods that the enemy can detect,” said Staff Sgt. Coltin Davenport, regimental communications chief for Combat Logistics Regiment 2, “they have a long history in the Marine Corps, going all the way back to the Navajo Code Talkers on Iwo Jima.”
High-Frequency radio communications benefit from increased data throughput and resiliency, critical factors in the fight against near-peer adversaries.
Conducting such an exercise across the United States increases the Marine Corps’ ability to fight and win by executing effective command and control (C2) in a challenging environment.
“This mission has run smoothly due to the detailed preparation effort, and competency of the team on the road. All issues encountered have been solvable and attacked at full force by the whole team both on the road and in support through the COC,” said Capt. Adam Devine, who commanded the convoy, “The Marines and Sailors… continued to look forward to the next day’s challenge”
Training such as this ensures 2d Transportation Battalion’s ability to provide II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) with the transportation support critical to accomplishing a wide range of military operations.”