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Lance Cpls. Chris Joe and Chris Bracco, data technicians, 6th Communications Battalion, connect solar panel components to the converter of the Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network System during a class at the Western Area Research Test and Evaluation Center

Photo by Diane Durden

Teaching Green

6 Jul 2012 | Diane Durden

Marines and sailors from across the United States began arriving at the Combat Center last week to prepare for Large Scale Exercise-1/ Javelin Thrust 2012, the Corps’ prototype exercise demonstrating Marine Expeditionary Brigade-level operations.

To prepare for the exercise, Marines from Marine Forces Reserve units and 2nd Tank Battalion received training on the Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy Network System and the Solar Portable Alternative Communications Energy System June 28, during a class held by Marine Forces Pacific Experimentation Center personnel at Camp Wilson.

As the Marine Corps implements the Commandant’s Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan, Marines must be able to operate systems that will provide expeditionary energy utilizing renewable and sustainable energy sources.

Shortly after arriving, the students were given the components of a GREENS system and asked to assemble it with minimal guidance from the instructors.

“The system is very easy to set up,” said Ken King, facility manager, Marine Forces Pacific Experimentation Center. He said having them set the system up beforehand emphasized this ease of usage and provided equipment familiarization, which enhanced the classroom presentation.

“The hardest part was figuring out which cables went with what,” said Lance Cpl. Kevin Bhamdeo, communications technician, 2nd Tanks.

Following the step-by-step instructions printed on the equipment, Bhamdeo and three Marines took approximately 15 minutes to get the system up and running.

With only 10 lightweight components, a complete set can fit into the back of one HMMWV for transportation.

GREENS is a 300-watt, photovoltaic/battery power system that provides continuous power to Marines in the field. Designed to provide power to multiple types of equipment, it allows operating forces a source of power without being dependent on fossil fuel generators and vehicles. This can reduce the need for transportation and storage of fossil fuels in a deployment zone.

“Our adversaries target resupply convoys,” King said. “Minimizing the use of convoys saves lives.” Marines were also provided instruction on the use of SPACES, a smaller, more portable version of GREENS.

SPACES is small and light enough to be carried by an individual. It uses solar power to recharge batteries during patrols.

“(SPACES), I’m sold on instantly,” said Sgt. Cruz Galvan, radio operator, 3rd Civil Affairs Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force. “I would love to have one of those.”

Editor’s Note: LSE-1/JT-12 will be a live and synthetic scenario-driven, simulation-supported exercise designed to train 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Marine Forces Reserve units in MEB-level Marine Air Ground Task Force operations that will incorporate all elements of the MAGTF. The goal is to demonstrate and refine a MAGTF’s core capabilities.

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