Radio Battalions are tactical electronic warfare units of the United States Marine Corps. There are currently three operational Radio Battalions in the Marine Corps organization: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. In fleet operations, teams from Radio Battalions are most often attached to the command element of Marine Expeditionary Units.
A Radio Battalion consists mainly of signals intelligence and electronic intelligence operators organized into smaller tactical units with different roles. Basic collection teams consist of 4–6 operators using specialized equipment based in HMMWVs. A variation on this is the MEWSS (Mobile Electronic Warfare Support System), which is an amphibious light armored vehicle equipped with similar electronic warfare equipment. MEWSS crews serve dual roles as electronic warfare operators and LAV crewmen. Radio Reconnaissance Platoons serve in a special operations role where the use of standard collection teams is not possible, such as covert infiltrations or tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel (TRAP).
In June 1943, 2nd Radio Intelligence Platoon was activated at Camp Elliott, California. The unit took part in the Battle of Guadalcanal and the Battle of Peleliu. The 3rd Radio Intelligence Platoon was also formed in June 1943 and took part in the Battles of the Kwajalein Atoll and Okinawa. From World War II until the early 1960s, various units performed radio intercepts, growing from platoon to company and, in 1964, to 1st Radio Battalion. Sub-units of the battalion were deployed to Vietnam from 1967 to 1975, including participation in evacuation efforts during the Fall of Saigon. In the early 1980s, 2nd Radio Battalion was part of the multinational peacekeeping force in Beirut, Lebanon. More recently, Radio Battalions served in Operation Desert Storm, Somalia, Kosovo, the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, and the 2004 Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah. Radio Battalions also send detachments to augment intelligence efforts at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, and at other bases throughout the world.
In Afghanistan Radio Battalion has proven especially effective against improvised explosive devices.
1st Radio Battalion
1st Radio Battalion, reformed in August 2004, is based at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, and supports the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF). The battalion maintains four companies: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and H&S Companies. 1st Radio Battalion was first based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kāneʻohe Bay, and operated out of there for several decades until it was reformed at Camp Pendleton.
2nd Radio Battalion
2nd Radio Battalion is the oldest Radio Battalion having been established as the 1st Radio Intelligence Platoon, Signals Company, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division on 2 January 1943. 2nd Radio Battalion (informally known as RadBn) based at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, supports the II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF). The battalion consists of three operations companies and a Headquarters and Support company. Alpha Company consists of Operation and Control Element's (OCE) 1 and 2 and an Operation Control and Analysis Center (OCAC). Bravo company is charged with supporting the 22nd, 24th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Units. Bravo supplies Collection Teams, Analysts and also contains MEWSS Teams and Radio Reconnaissance Teams. Charlie Company currently has two OCEs and currently serves as an EAS platoon for those Marines about to get out and a training platoon for new Marines arriving from MOS School. Headquarters and Support Company supports all activities of Alpha, Bravo and Charlie companies as needed.
3rd Radio Battalion
3rd Radio Battalion, located aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kāneʻohe Bay, traces its lineage to 1943 with the creation of the 3d Radio Intelligence Platoon. Most recently, since August 2003, the Battalion has served in a dual support role of both I and III Marine Expeditionary Force. Following the units return from Iraq in February 2006, 3d Radio Battalion began focusing on supporting the Global War on Terrorism. In October 2008 3rd Radio Battalion deployed as part of SPMAGTF-A to Helmand Province in Southern Afghanistan as part of the ISAF troop surge, and participated in several major operations including the Battle of Now Zad as well as Operation Khanjar.
- Nygaard, Bryan. "Radio Battalion Helps ANGLICO Intercept Insurgents." US Marine Corps News, 6 June 2011.
- 1st Radio Battalion Home Page
- 2nd Radio Battalion Home Page
- 3rd Radio Battalion Home Page
- Story on 1st Bn's redesignation as 3rd Bn
- MEWSS information
- 1st Radio Battalion Vietnam Veterans Site
- 2nd Radio Battalion Lineage
- 2nd Radio Battalion Organizational History