U.S. ARMY GARRISON, GRAFENWOEHR – U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Ryan Zabriskie was completing his training in Twentynine Palms, Calif., when he learned he was supporting a fleet activity – in Germany.
“Someone tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘you need to report for a briefing on Combined Endeavor,’ which I had never heard of,” said Zabriskie.
“This is totally new for us,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Christopher Wallace of the Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 (MWCS-28), stationed in Raleigh, N.C. “None of us have worked in a multinational environment before and some have never deployed at all,” said Wallace.
Combined Endeavor 2013 (CE13) is the world’s largest communications and interoperability exercise, with 38 nations providing equipment and personnel to build, operate, maintain and defend a coalition network.
MWCS-28 was tasked with providing communications services including chat and web port interoperability that would allow all the nations and organizations participating in CE13 to communicate.
“Adapting to the way everything operates in a joint environment was the real challenge,” said Wallace. “We had no problem doing everything our way, but that’s not how it works in this (CE 13) environment. What we had to do was simulate a regimental level command operations center over a large number of multinational battalions.”
Monty Martinez, of the Computer Science Corporation Center of the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity (MCTSSA) is part of a support group that travels with the Marines.
“MCTSSA fields a team of technical experts to support operations and exercises,” said Martinez. MCTSSA is made up of active duty Marines, government contractors and civilians. All of the MCTSSA staff is experienced in CE13 field operations.
“We are here to provide engineering, field operating procedure and help desk support to these guys,” said Martinez. “We are able to advise on gear rooming, verifying software baseline compatibility, and we also ran these guys through putting this whole thing together several times.”
Combined Endeavor is an annual U.S. European Command-sponsored event that runs from Sept. 13-26, 2013.