Comm Equipment Used In The Corps

Comm Equipment Used In The Corps

Today, this 79 year old Marine was reminiscing about the old days and wondering what type of communication equipment the Marine Corps uses now days, its got to be high tech. In the mid-fifties we used field radio equipment like the AN/PRC-8, 9’s and 10’s and the AN/GRC-9 which used a hand cranked generator for power to transmit. Cranking that thing was fun, not. We even had the AN/PRC-6 (walkie-talkie) in our inventory but don’t remember using it. For mobile comm we had the MRC-6, the MRC-38 and other vehicles depending if you ere infantry, artillery or armor. For the old timers I stand to be corrected.

As a CW radio operator I remember using what was called a knee key (J-45), to tap out messages in Morse code while in the field. To me it was fun but sometimes on the other end of the radio net you would run into a operator who we called a “s–t fist” (A person who needed a lot more training in the use of a telegraph key).

It was a little difficult trying to decipher what the radio operator was trying to send but if you got part of the word you could figure it out. The attached picture shows me, a Pfc, using a knee key at Camp Lejeune in 1956. The other picture shows Marines using the AN/GRC-9 in the Philippines on a NFG (Naval Gun Fire) training and shoot in the early sixties. If you look closely you can see a Marine with the generator and I’m sure some of the old timers have tales to tell about cranking that thing.

In 1965 and ’66, when I was with 2/9 in Vietnam we were still communicating with the P—k 10 and don’t remember when the Marines started receiving the AN/PRC-25. And I wasn’t the wireman MOS 2511 who worked along side of us and were an important part of Marine Communications. That’s all. I’m just an old fart thinking about the good times in the U.S. Marine Corps.

GySgt G.R. Archuleta
Never Retired, Always A Marine

Submit your own Story>>

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Roger lemme (DODGE)

    Hi Guns, 2533 at Marble Mountain Mag-16. August 1966 to May 1969. 2and tour to try to save my brother from the Nam…Didn’t work

  • Jim May, CWO4 Ret.

    Ah…the days of “Bens best bent wire”!! RTO School, San Diego, Dec65 – April 66.
    Semper Fi to all.

  • MSgt Edd Prothro, USMC Ret. 1964-1984

    Great, glad it worked out. I go and look-up that one. Semper Fi!!

  • Gilbert Archuleta, Gysgt Retired

    MSgt Prothro, I took your suggestion about searching in the search box and found the article I wrote. It was in the Newsletter dated August 27, 2009 and titled “Middle of the Sahara Desert.” If you or any one else is interested, there it is. Semper Fi.

  • Austin Sullivan

    Hi Gunny:

    Your post brought back memories. In 1957, after Parris Island and Camp Geiger, I was sent to radio school at N.O.B. Norfolk. By the time I graduated I was copying 26 wpm. Of course that was sitting at a typewriter–utterly useless in the field where we copied with a stick and a pad of paper. And there was no way to send at those speeds with the key on the knee clip either. Most of the time our nets were voice, not CW, but we used it occasionally on nets linking us back to regimental HQ. I never served on board a ship, so all that high speed training was largely wasted on me. I haven’t used CW since, but it’s still in my head. I guess you never forget it. We used Pr–k 9s and 10s but I mostly used an AN/GRC 9 (we called it an “anger 9”). Mine was mounted in my jeep. I was in 4th BN 10th Marines, an artillery regiment, so we moved on wheels. Having it on my jeep spared me from having to crank up the power by hand. I didn’t like hanging around the command tent so I’d drive my jeep a little ways away and set up there. I’d run some slash wire to the command tent and attach a EE-8 at either end, so that the officer(s) that needed to communicate on the net I was maintaining could reach me at a moment’s notice. One additional recollection. As you pointed out, the range of PRC 9ers or 10s was limited. Every now and then, though, you’d get a bounce off the atmosphere from somewhere far away. I remember one night hearing a television crew in London, England talking to one another. I went to college after my tour in the Corps, missed Vietnam, and have had a good life since but the most important and influential years in my development were unquestionably the time I spent in the Corps. Thanks for the memories, Gunny.

    Semper Fi.

    Cpl. Austin Sullivan

Leave a comment