USMC Radio Recon
The USMC currently maintains two Radio Battalions. The 1st Radio Battalion is located at Camp Pendalton, CA and is tasked with supporting West coastand Pacific based Marine units, while the Camp Leguene, NC based 2nd Radio Battalion is responsible for supporting East coast based Marines and units operating in the Atlantic.
Within each of these battalions lies a little known, but highly specialized reconnaissance unit known as the Radio Reconniassance Platoon. Radio Recon Platoons, and their subordinate Radio Recon Teams (RRT), are employed to conduct specified signal intelligence/electronic warfare (SIGINT/EW) operations during pre-assault, advance force, or special operations when the conduct of such operations by other detachment elements is inappropriate or not feasible.
Radio reconnaissance teams are typically employed in the following roles:
- (1) During MEU(SOC) Amphibious Operations.
- (a)When the available data on the communications characteristics of enemy forces in the area of operations, particularly the tactical communications of low-echelon enemy units likely to be encountered by the landing force, is insufficient to provide specific SIGINT/EW tasking to detachment elements landing on or after H/L-Hour, or is otherwise non existent, a radio recon team may be inserted either independently or in conjunction with other pre-assault or advance force operations to search for, locate, and identify enemy communications nets, and report collected data to the detachment OIC prior to H/L-Hour.
- (b)When SIGINT/EW support to pre-assault or advance force operations is requested/required by the MEU, a radio recon team may be inserted either independently or in conjunction with other pre- assault/advance force operations to conduct SIGINT operations in order to provide indications end warning (I&W) support to pre-assault/advance force elements.
- (c) In both of the above cases, data reported or confirmed by the RRT is utilized to plan H/L-Hour electronic counter measures (ECM) operations, and/or provide specific SIGINT/EW tasking to detachment elements landing on or after H/L-Hour.
- (2)During MEU(SOC) maritime special purpose operations.
- (a) The limited time evolution of many maritime special purpose operations normally does not allow for the time-consuming process of searching for and collecting unavailable/unknown data on enemy communications. Therefore, SIGINT/EW support to MEU(SOC) maritime special purpose operations is generally restricted to providing I&W support in those instances when such data is already known and available.
- (b) A radio reconnaissance team may be employed in support of MEU(SOC) maritime special purpose operations to provide I&W support to reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) elements and/or direct action elements.
- (c) Radio recon teams may also be tasked to confirm ECM operations conducted in support of special operations.
In determining the requirement to employ the radio recon team in support of any type of MEU(SOC) operation, the following conditions should apply:
- (1) A radio reconnaissance unique capability is required, thus precluding the employment of other detachment elements.
- Radio reconnaissance unique capabilities include, but are not limited to:
- (a) Clandestine insertion/extraction capability.
- (b) Clandestine movement/patrol capability.
- (c) Self-sustained independent operation capability.
- (2) Other detachment or CATF cryptologic assets cannot be effectiveLy positioned or otherwise employed.
- (3) Theater and/or national assets are not available or are not expected to be available within sufficient time to be effective.
- (4) When considering employment to provide indications and warning (I&W) support to any type of operation, the radio recon team must have the appropriate linguistic capability or be augmented with an appropriate Linguist.
The Office in Charge (OIC) and Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) should have attended the Reconnaissance Operations Planning Course at Expeditionary Warfare Training Group (EWTG).
All Marines assigned to an RRT have completed the Basic Airborne Course, Amphibious Reconnaissance Course, Survival, Evasion,Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Course and The Radio Recon Indoctrination Program (RRIP). Addtional courses that are required for officers and NCO’s include: Jump Master, HRST Master, Basic Coxswain.
Update: There is also third Radio Battalion. They are located in Hawaai.