A Marine Grunt’s Take on GPS, Compasses, Radios and the ‘Golden Hour’

Soldiers taking part in the Network Integration Evaluation exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas

U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kulani J. Lakanaria

AA Font size + Print

Soldiers taking part in the Network Integration Evaluation exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas

Despite advances in technology on the battlefield, when it comes down to determining north, south, east or west, the compass is still a mighty handy gadget. By Bob Brewin

I had the pleasure to have lunch with four Marine officers at Fort Bliss, Texas, last week at the Army Network Integration Evaluation exercise, where they were testing a joint satellite-based command and control system planned for use by both services.

One of them, Maj. Christopher McGuire, executive officer of the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, based at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., offered some valuable insight into the use of technology on the battlefield based his experience during three tours in Iraq.

This starts with basic tools, such as a compass, which “as a Marine infantry officer I know how use,” McGuire said, along with a GPS receiver to determine location and direction. When it comes down to determining, north, south, east or west, the compass is still a mighty handy gadget, McGuire said.

His young Marines are tech savvy but still need to figure out the correct “time and place for application of technology” when eyeballs, for example, could do a better job, he said.

When inter-squad radios were first fielded, McGuire encountered a squad leader “yelling into a radio” to contract a fire team leader. McGuire walked up to the squad leader, pointed, and said, “Look, you can see the fire team leader,” with the implication that a short walk would eliminate the need to yell into a radio.

Technology improved the survival rates for combat wounds to 90.4 percent in Iraq, due in part to satellite systems, which slashed the time to call in a medevac, McGuire said

That satellite system, McGuire said, meant the Marines “could get a bird en route instantly,” compressing, the vital “Golden Hour,” which can determine the difference between life and death.

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download
  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Top 5 Findings: Security of Internet of Things To Be Mission-Critical

    As federal agencies increasingly leverage these capabilities, government security stakeholders now must manage and secure a growing number of devices, including those being used remotely at the “edge” of networks in a variety of locations. With such security concerns in mind, Government Business Council undertook an indepth research study of federal government leaders in January 2017. Here are five of the key takeaways below which, taken together, paint a portrait of a government that is increasingly cognizant and concerned for the future security of IoT.

    Download
  • Coordinating Incident Response on Posts, Camps and Stations

    Effective incident response on posts, camps, and stations is an increasingly complex challenge. An effective response calls for seamless conversations between multiple stakeholders on the base and beyond its borders with civilian law enforcement and emergency services personnel. This whitepaper discusses what a modern dispatch solution looks like -- one that brings together diverse channels and media, simplifies the dispatch environment and addresses technical integration challenges to ensure next generation safety and response on Department of Defense posts, camps and stations.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.