CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan --
Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit began a communications exercise here June 20, by teaching their newest Marines how to set up communications shelters while deployed to a forward operating base.
The training brought together communications Marines from throughout the 31st MEU’s subordinate commands, to ensure this first step would be completed quickly and without issue.
“It is critical for Marines to have the knowledge to set up shelters in a timely manner,” said Herbert Vega, a HDT representative for Okinawa, Japan. “Marines cannot afford to waste time on setting up shelters when they have more important things to worry about.”
Most of the lessons learned during the training are detail oriented, with each shelter requiring a step-by-step process for build and a large quantity of parts.
“The Marines have to keep an eye out when putting these shelters up for defects or missing parts,” said Vega. “If there is one thing wrong with the shelter it could mess the whole thing up.”
The shelter includes many integral moving parts, according to Engle. Execution of assembly requires great attention to detail, but once learned can be operated very quickly.
“The shelter is designed to set up and move very quickly,” said Vega. “You have to be able to pick of move in order to advance the battle field.”
Marines trained in assembly and disassembly can complete the task in eight minutes, according to Vega.
In addition to serving as fast, mobile communication hubs for the MEU, the shelters provide Marines with a place to sleep, eat, and even hygiene.
“The shelters that we learned how to put up or take down, could be used for almost anything,” said Lance Cpl Logan E. Engle, a systems administrator with the 31st MEU.
The Marines grasped the process quickly through hands on training, understanding the importance of becoming proficient in the task.
“This training was critical to our mission accomplishment,” said Pfc. Francisco U. Andrade-Dominguez, a supply administration and operations specialist for the 31st MEU. “If it was not for this training, we would waist valuable time and effort in something that should be a simple first step.”
The 31st MEU is the United States’ force in readiness for the Asia Pacific region and the Marine Corps’ only continuously forward deployed expeditionary unit.