Photo Information

Sgt. Robert T. Madinger, a Marine assigned to the Joint Task Force Enabler detachment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, repairs a server aboard Camp Buehring, Kuwait, July 2, 2013. The JTFE detachment provides communications ashore for the MEU within the MEU commander's area of responsibility. The 26th MEU is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force forward-deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility aboard the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group serving as a sea-based, expeditionary crisis response force capable of conducting amphibious operations across the full range of military operations. (Photo courtesy of 1stLt Jeremy Gudgel/Released).

Photo by 1stLt Jeremy Gudgel

Joint Task Force Enablers provide quick, easy communications

6 Jul 2013 | Cpl. Kyle N. Runnels 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit

The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit has the ability to conduct self-sustained operations during their 2013 deployment anywhere in the Fifth and Sixth Fleet area of operations. Part of the success of the rapid response force can be attributed to the 26th MEU’s Joint Task Force Enabler support package located in Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

“The Joint Task Force Enabler support package provides the 26th MEU with a secure and non-secure means of communication to forces ashore in the commanding officer’s Area of Responsibility,” said 1st Lt. Jeremy Gudgel, JTFE detachment officer in charge. “The support package facilitates administration requests and logistic support for the MEU.”

Having a team of Marines in Kuwait gives the 26th MEU advantages that are crucial and limited while forward deployed: time and space.

“The JTFE shore based in Kuwait enables the MEU to maintain less downtime for bandwidth intensive systems,” said Gudgel. “When forces go ashore reinforcements do not have to wait on the JTFE to establish communications.  Plus, a reduced equipment footprint on ship, gives more space for other mission essential assets.”

In order for all the communications to work, the Marines utilize the Secure Wide Area Network.

“Essentially, the reinforcements use our SWAN to pull in the services the JTFE provides [since we are] the hub for communications,” said Sgt. Marc A. Conzo Jr., JTFE satellite chief assigned to the 26th MEU from Belsano, Penn. “Swan is a full system: It consists of a parabolic dish attached to a series of routers and switches.” He said it connects the ground side force’s laptops to a variety of different networks.

Various large scale exercises only work with the coordination of various parts of the MEU. Often times most work is done behind the scenes in order for everything to run efficiently.

Conzo said their role during Exercise Eager Lion 2013 was to use their satellites and regulate all transmission providing communication to the forces in Jordan.

Being away from the main body of the deployment can cause complications, but due to the work ethics of the Marines with the JTFE, the distance held no hitches.

“The skill and vigor of the noncommissioned officers and junior Marines of the JTFE is a major part of our success,” said Gudgel. “Their dedication to mission accomplishment has brought about the success of our movement to Camp Buehring and to the establishment of services. At one point during Exercise Eager Lion 2013, Sgt. [Joseph] Ziemba, the JTFE platoon sergeant, had a Marine on the keyboard typing while he had one phone on each ear directing SWAN troubleshooting.”

Mission accomplishment is always one of the main priorities in any assignment conducted by the Marine Corps. No mission, no matter how big or small, could be accomplished without the efforts of multiple units working in a supportive and cohesive manner.

26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)