NOVO SELO TRAINING AREA, Bulgaria --
Soldiers with Azerbaijan’s Operational Capabilities Concept battalion are working with the Marines of Black Sea Rotational Force 13 at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria, to improve their communications skills while developing a close working relationship during Exercise Platinum Eagle 13.
BSRF-13’s communications section is leading nine days of technical lectures, hands-on practice and field application exercises with the Azerbaijani battalion’s communications platoon. The instructors focus is building a strong foundation in the fundamentals of Marine Corps communications.
“The goal of the partnership exercise is for us to show them the way we do business on a daily basis,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Raynor, communications chief for BSRF-13 and Owasso, Okla., native. “Hopefully they will learn as much from us as we hope to learn from them.”
The opening sessions of classes provided ten Azerbaijani communications unit leaders the basic operations skills for all the communication equipment an infantry battalion uses. These skills include basic radio operating procedures, proper radio terminology, receiving and submitting radio reports and basic data networking.
“We started off by introducing the combined operations center’s capabilities and limitations,” said 1st Lt. Julian D’Orsaneo, communications officer for BSRF-13 and Elverson, Pa., native. “What we provide in the COC enables the battalion commander to have command and control.”
Soldiers with the Azerbaijani battalion have had little trouble familiarizing themselves with BSRF-13’s gear due to the similarities with the equipment they regularly use. Both forces operate the same brand of radio equipment; however, the abilities differ due to the equipment being one generation apart.
“During today’s class with situation reports and nine-line evacuation requests they did pretty well,” said Lance Cpl. Jacob Olson, a radio operator with BSRF-13 from Cadillac, Mich. “Since they already know much about radios, teaching them proper etiquette wasn’t hard either so it’s been going smooth.”
The Marines showed them how to program radios, walked them through antenna set-up procedures and taught[SSGTL1] them the transmission systems used to extend data services. These transmission systems enable the COC to pull internet services from a distant location.
“They’re very interested in the satellite communication systems and the data communication systems in general,” said D’Orsaneo.
This is not the first time BSRF-13’s communications section works with partner-nation communications specialists.
“We did a joint network with the Georgians during Exercise Agile Spirit 13. There we employed joint tactical radio nets as well as a data systems network with a combined COC,” said Raynor.
While previous exercises in Latvia and Romania also allowed BSRF-13’s communications section to see how partner-nation communicators establish a communications infrastructure, this exercise in Bulgaria is the first time the Marines are more than just coordinating and supporting the exercise along with a partner-nation section.
“This has been a great opportunity for us because here we have members of the Azerbaijani S-6 platoon who’ve come specifically to learn from my Marines,” said D’Orsaneo.
“I’m very impressed with the maturity, experience and expertise of my Marines and their ability to communicate knowledge and information to the Azerbaijani platoon,” added D’Orsaneo.
Platinum Eagle 13, a multilateral exercise bringing military units from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and the U.S. together, continues on its fourth week of drills. During this period, U.S. Marines and sailors have orchestrated integrated squad and platoon attacks, company-level command and control discussions, counter-insurgency skills and tactics exercises, and combat lifesaving seminars in support of theater security cooperation.