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MCTSSA provides warriors tactical edge

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 2005413153627
Story by Lance Cpl. Aaron P. Mankin

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (April 13, 2005) -- Paul Revere's signal of, "One if by land, two if by sea," was one of the most effective methods of military communication available in 1775. Military communications relied largely on messengers on foot or horseback. Attempts of finding new ways to send information faster than a person could travel were always welcomed.

Since World War II, developments to speed up communication have rapidly continued. In the Korean War, walkie-talkies put infantry platoons in constant contact with their commands. Since the 1960s, satellites have allowed instantaneous communication with remote parts of the world. In recent history, navigation satellites allow small units to pinpoint positions within a few yards.

Part of the newest communication technologies available to the battlefield here are the responsibility of the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity deployment team.

“We bring technical expertise to the war fighter to make them as effective as possible in battle,” said Maj. William J. Conner, officer in charge, MCTSSA deployment team and Tulsa, Okla., native.

With the support MCTSSA is providing, Marines are capable of communicating in combat like never before. One of the tools making this possible is the data automated communications terminal. The DACT is a tactical data entry device used as a mounted or dismounted unit.

According to Conner, the DACT will receive, process, store and display information derived from preformatted messages. The DACT provides the capability to transmit and receive digital maps and overlays, both friend and enemy unit positions, location reports and free text messages via tactical radio networks.

Those networks are provided by the enhanced position location reporting system which acts as a secure wireless internet over radio frequencies.

“With the systems we have in place we can actually see on screen what unit is located where within our network,” said Conner. “We can even pinpoint past locations of IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices.]”

The EPLRS provides units with global position location information and a dedicated data communications network. The primary purpose is to provide the digital backbone radio frequency communications to support connectivity of tactical data networks, said Conner.

“It’s important for commands to be able to tell where their troops are located at any given time,” explained Staff Sgt. Daniel E. McIntire, data chief, MCTSSA deployment team and Snover, Mich., native. “We give them the ability to send instant messages and streaming video through a secure network.”

The overall purpose of these new technologies is to support the troops outside the wire.

“This system is much better than just using radios,” said Cpl. Michael A. Ortiz, data noncommissioned officer, Combat Logistics Brigade-8, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) and Orlando, Fla., native. “We can get information back faster and get the support we need.”

Military communications have entered an age unlike anything seen before. MCTSSA is here to ensure the Marine Corps continues to utilize the technology.

“We fall directly under Marine Corps Systems Command,” said Conner. “We are here for the entire Marine Corps.”

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