CAMP LEJEUNE, NC --
Fifteen Marines from U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command recently completed the final crucible of the Marine Network Operator’s Course (MNOC) – certifying their mastery of the communications skills required for Special Operations Forces.
“It’s a MARSOC demand to be a versatile communicator,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ronald Slone, a MARSOC radio chief and an MNOC instructor.
“When you’re the only communications Marine on a 14-man special operations team, it’s critical to have this training.”
During the 4-day final exercise, students set up observation posts around Davis Airfield and relayed communications back to a Combat Operations Center.
This was the fourth iteration of MNOC - a 13-week course that turns a basic MARSOC operator or support Marine of any MOS into a proficient communicator, said Slone. Students spend the majority of their time in a classroom, where they learn everything from communications planning to Operational Security procedures – and, of course, a myriad of radio equipment.
“We study the PYQ-10 radio, the PRC-148, PRC-150, PRC-117, the PSC-5, SOF-deployable nodes – the list goes on,” said Slone.
Students were evaluated throughout the course with field scenarios, like the final exercise they recently completed.
“It was tough,” said Sgt. Gary Hohn, a field radio operator with 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion. “But I definitely learned a lot. It’s been some of the best training I’ve had in the Corps.”
MARSOC’S special operations teams employ the fundamental characteristics of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) in that they are inherently expeditionary and involve little reach back requirement. That’s why proficiency and self-sufficiency are essential for MARSOC’s communication Marines.
“Success on the battlefield cannot happen without communications,” said Slone.