U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, made a long distance call via radio to Okinawa, Japan on Jan. 18, 2020, at approximately 1 p.m. on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Using the mountainous terrain of Camp Pendleton to their advantage, these Marines were able to amplify their high frequency (HF) radio shot to reach over 6,000 miles to Camp Shwab in Japan.
“We are shooting a high frequency shot into Okinawa, Japan using a field expedient antenna ran through our vehicle system,” stated Cpl. Shelton Needham, a field radio operator, 3/1, 1st MARDIV. “No matter where we are at, we can set up one of these antennas and talk to anyone that we need to talk to.”
With this highly mobile platform, Marines are able to establish worldwidecommunications. This capability is extremely vital to maintain in this modern era. Other means of communications, such as satellites, can be targeted and taken offline. However, with these systems, Camp Pendleton can maintain global communication regardless of other systems being disabled.
“High frequency radio is able to talk world wide with the right antenna and the correct power outage that is,” stated Cpl. Clay Fitzpatrick, field radio operator with 3/1, 1st MARDIV.
These long distance calls do not occur frequently on base. The field radio operators of 3/1 routinely conduct shorter radio calls throughout Camp Pendleton. Longer calls have not been conducted in several years. However, the Marines of 3/1 are more than confident with these longer distance calls.
“This is my first time directing the long shot to Oki,” said Needham. “Most of the time our maximum distance is across Camp Pendleton.”
Communication is a key factor in all operations. The United States Marine Corps makes sure that it’s Marines will always be able to contact who they need to. In any place and at any time, Camp Pendleton’s radio operating Marines work to maintain fast and reliable communications.