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Active, reserve Marines integrate: Undergo field exercise 'Grizzly Spartan'

US Marine Corps News

By Lance Cpl. Glen E. Santy, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- After three weeks of studying in a classroom, communication Marines with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 took their lessons outside Jan. 30, unrolling wires and positioning tents and antennas for an exercise dubbed ‘Grizzly Spartan.’

“Grizzly Spartan is a unique opportunity for active and reserve communication squadrons to work together,” said Capt. Jason Falivene, operations officer for MWCS-28. “The goal of this exercise is to provide advanced military occupational specialty training, culminating in a realistic exercise that prepares the communications Marines to support the command and control requirements of the ACE (aviation combat element).”

MWCS-48, a reserve unit out of Great Lakes, Ill., joined MWCS-28 for the exercise, and the two units have been working hand-in-hand, conducting classes and hands-on job training in preparation for the exercise, which is transitioning into its next phase that the Marines call ‘shoulder surfing.’

Shoulder surfing starts with MWCS-28 in command of the area of operation, giving MWCS-48 a chance to observe and the following week the squadrons will switch, allowing the reservists to take the helm of the operation.

“The last two weeks is the culminating point of the evolution,” said Capt. Duane Wright, MWCS-48 detachment commander and an electronics maintenance officer.

Wright said the first three weeks of the exercise were focused on job related classes, taught by MWCS-28 at the communications training center out of Marine Corps Base Camp Johnson.

“It’s been awesome working with MWCS-48,” said Sgt. Delrico Perkins, a digital multi-channel wideband transmission equipment operator with MWCS-28. “We have built off of each other both on and off duty.”

The classes, taught by MWCS-28 Marines, covered basic and advanced levels of satellite and terrestrial transmission systems, along with networking fundamentals, utilities and tactical telephonic switch board operations. The II Marine Expeditionary Force Communications Training Center also provided training.

“This training is important to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing because all Marines need select training,” said Falivene. “It’s the building block approach.”

“This has been very interesting and a great opportunity for the reservists,” said Sgt. Johanna Garcia, a field radio operator with MWCS-48.

"What was considered a refresher to MWCS-28 was new to MWCS-48,”said Garcia. “It’s good to see the Marines get a chance to learn on new gear like the wireless point to point link.”

Grizzly Spartan continues until Feb. 10, and has already spread to MCB Camp Johnson, MCB Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

“The key to take away from this entire evolution is the integration of active and reserve communication squadrons and how it can be done seamlessly,” said Wright. “It’s very common for reserve units to augment active forces in a deployed environment, and the success of this evolution will demonstrate what Marine force readiness can bring to the table in that capacity.”

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