FAS Note: Contrary to the following story, it appears that First Radio Battalion was not literally the first to field Trojan SPIRIT. We are advised that 8th Communications Battalion, II MEF, for example, has utilized Trojan SPIRIT for several years in support of the 2nd Intelligence Battalion.

Marine Corps News -- 02/11/99 06:30:05 PM


By Cpl. Barry Melton

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii (Feb 8) -- Well, 1st Radio Battalion has done it again.

They added to their list of firsts here when they arrived Jan. 14-16, as C Company made all assets of Trojan SPIRIT a reality in a field environment for the first-time ever, according to Staff Sgt. Victor Church, the communications platoon sergeant and communications chief here.

Trojan SPIRIT, Special Purpose Integrated Remote Intelligence Terminal, a satellite used to open clear pathways for communication specialists to tap into government information systems, had never been operational in the field until C Co. arrived at PTA and got it up and running to back 3rd Marine Division with information and communications support for Pacific Impact '99.

"We're farther along with Trojan SPIRIT than anyone else," said Church of how far they've advanced with Trojan SPIRIT compared to any other unit in the Marine Corps.

With Trojan SPIRIT, C Company reached a pathway to the Joint World-wide Intelligence Communications System, which allows them to distribute intelligence while at PTA. They also provide the Secret Internet Protocol Network to the Division, as well, said Church.

To operate Trojan SPIRIT, which consists of a 15-foot tall satellite dish and a small manned compartment, a four-person team works to keep everything running 24-hours a day. Two people occupy the compartment, working in 12 hour shifts, according to Cpl. Eric Ours, the Trojan SPIRIT team leader and operator.

"It takes a trained, two-person team about 20 minutes to set up Trojan SPIRIT," Ours said. "Our biggest job is when we first set it up. After that, all we do is monitor the (information) nets."

They add Trojan SPIRIT to a list of first-time accomplishment that include being the first unit deployed to a hot spot with a smaller version of the Trojan SPIRIT during last year's Desert Thunder, and also became the first ones to set up a light Common Gateway System in a field environment,Ours said.

"We set up a CGS light to send record message traffic to a field command," said Ours. "It (the messages) used to be several hours old before they got to the command, but we did it within minutes."


The large green satellite Trojan SPIRIT sits outside 1st Radio Bttalion's work tent. C Co., 1st Radio provided communication support for Pacific Impact '99.

Photo by Cpl. Barry Melton