Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

A Marine’s Afghan AAR (X): Crappy comms

Here CWO2/Gunner Keith Marine has more questions than answers about what sort of radios to use in combat. Communications. You have to continually train to this and have redundancy in your patrols. I wish we still had the PRRs for squads. Motorolas work well but are bulky and often you don’t have a pouch to ...

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Here CWO2/Gunner Keith Marine has more questions than answers about what sort of radios to use in combat.

Communications. You have to continually train to this and have redundancy in your patrols. I wish we still had the PRRs for squads. Motorolas work well but are bulky and often you don't have a pouch to store them in, so they become a pain in the ass. As far as handsets, I used to think the old school one was the way to go but now, I am a huge fan of the quiet pro. When the fight is sporadic and you have some space in between you and the enemy, the old school handset is fine but during close in fights with a lot of noise, nothing substitutes for an ear piece and nothing sucks as much as running 50 meters this way and that passing directions while you are getting fired up by machine guns. There has to be better gear out there that isn't as cumbersome or hot with a big piece of plastic covering your ear.

Here CWO2/Gunner Keith Marine has more questions than answers about what sort of radios to use in combat.

Communications. You have to continually train to this and have redundancy in your patrols. I wish we still had the PRRs for squads. Motorolas work well but are bulky and often you don’t have a pouch to store them in, so they become a pain in the ass. As far as handsets, I used to think the old school one was the way to go but now, I am a huge fan of the quiet pro. When the fight is sporadic and you have some space in between you and the enemy, the old school handset is fine but during close in fights with a lot of noise, nothing substitutes for an ear piece and nothing sucks as much as running 50 meters this way and that passing directions while you are getting fired up by machine guns. There has to be better gear out there that isn’t as cumbersome or hot with a big piece of plastic covering your ear.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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