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Marines with Communication Training Battalion, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, run in formation during the battalion’s three-mile motivational run in honor of the battalion’s anniversary aboard the Combat Center March 11, 2016. The battalion, activated March 12, 2015, brought the training of enlisted and commissioned communication Marines under one command. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz

CTB celebrates anniversary

21 Mar 2016 | Story by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - The Marines of Communication Training Battalion, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, celebrated the successful completion of the battalion’s inaugural year with a banquet dinner and three-mile motivational run March 10-11, 2016.

The battalion activated March 12, 2015, with the intent of bringing the responsibility of training commissioned and enlisted communication Marines under one command. Previously, the training was conducted in separate locations with officers being trained at the Communication School, located aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

“As far as birthday’s go, this is significant because it’s the first anniversary for our battalion,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Weisickle, instructor, CTB. “It’s a celebration of the monumental energy and focus we’ve put into making it a success.”

The battalion’s mission is to train and evaluate Marines in individual events according to training and readiness manual standards for the operation and maintenance of Marine Corps communication systems in order to provide Marine commanders the ability to command and control across the full range of military operations.

“In the last year, we have gone from holding one field exercise per course to nine field exercises every single course,” said Lt. Col. Speros Koumparakis, battalion commander, CTB. “I feel that is a major accomplishment in making Marines better communicators and preparing them for what they will encounter in the field and fleet.”

In 2015, CTB graduated the first and second Basic Communication Officer Course classes, began the first iteration of the tenant Warrant Officer Course and convened the first Advanced Communications Officer Course Mobile Training Team.

Through summer 2015; CTB continued to develop operational capacity. CTB provided cybersecurity support to Large Scale Exercise 2015; attended and led working groups during I MEF, II MEF and III MEF Communication Chief’s conferences; and graduated the second BCOC course.

CTB continued on this pace through the end of 2015, expanding its operational capability, sending out a Cyber Planning Support team to the Australian Defense Force School of Signals and attending the Spectrum Warfare Support planning conference.

According to Weisickle, being aboard the Combat Center has provided the students with excellent opportunities for realistic training.

“The equipment is top of the line and we have the space [aboard the installation] to actually facilitate training in the field,” Weisickle said. “It gives Marines a first-hand experience of the equipment they will be working with when they go to the fleet.”

With the training opportunities offered at the Combat Center, the battalion’s instructors are better equipped to provide the instruction necessary for the communication community to meet the needs of an ever-evolving Marine Corps.

“Since we moved here, I’d attribute our success to the Marines of the CTB and all the work they put towards accomplishing our mission,” Koumparakis said. “Especially our instructors, as I consider them our main effort in our operations turning basic Marine rifleman into communication Marines.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms