Going to M.A.R.S.?

Came across the Military Auxiliary Radio System today. It serves as an amateur radio extension /backup to worldwide military communications missions. MARS is assigned to United States Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM). With over 5,000 members currently, it works to backup official military communications during emergencies and crisis.

Sounds like fun! I discovered it while over at the TACDA site, looking at Civil Defense organization and education resources. Amateur radio operators can use their skills to help the nation when most needed. It looks to be and up-and-up community, with a history spanning back to 1925 when it was started as the Army Amateur Radio System by Army Signal Corps Captain Thomas C. Rives. It eventually grew to include the Air Force and the Navy – Marine Corps.

The above MARS links route to the ARMY MARS. The NAVY – USMC MARS is HERE. It has quite a bit more information in its side bar, including training links, MARS-GRAMs and Frequency information.

In reading at the NAVY – USMC MARS site, specifically within their training course, I read that members of one service branch’s MARS system can not be in the service of another. So, a participant would have to choose a service to assist. That would be hard for me. I have a family link to the USAF, friends in the Army and veteran friends in all services. In choosing a branch, a prepper might naturally consider which might actually be a source of information close to his home life. In the servicing of information requests and message traffic handling, there might be random notices that have special meaning.

Now, I wouldn’t suggest that any prepper join for a reason unassociated with the official intent of the program. His motives must be pure and honorable. It would be a disservice to our service men and women to pretend to be a serious member of the system only to use it for selfish ends. But the existence of the choices available gives him opportunity to select a service more closely related to his reality at home. The two are intertwined. Let’s face it, he would be operating from his home radio station and, if called to emergency service, his home’s security might well depend on the nature of the emergency. Information servicing his home’s interests also serves that of the branch of service he has chosen to assist. If he is forced from his home, or is otherwise in danger, he is of no use to MARS, and a Martian must be wise in his choices if he is to be worth anything to anybody.

To be serious about it, a prepper /MARS operator needs to be resilient. This means having back up power and even a measure of EMP resistance. The rest of the system will have it vulnerabilities, but he isn’t responsible for that. He is responsible for his link in the network. If he has done his job, and others as well, then it will perform to some level worthy of the effort.



2 comments to Going to M.A.R.S.?

  • I’ve been aware of MARS for a long time. Used to monitor their frequencies when I had more time and a good HF receiver. Very interesting stuff. And a great back up to military systems for those just in case scenarios.Thanks for bringing it up.Just my opinion.Jerry

    • LP

      The Navy site says that an operator needs to be licensed for one year prior to applying. New operators needs to get on the ball if they want to join up. Looks like it could be a lot of work while on station, but a lot of fun, too.

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