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Morse Code: A Staple In The Navy Information Warfare Toolkit
by U.S. Navy Carla McCarthy, Center for Information Dominance -  February 12, 2016

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PENSACOLA, Fla. – The cryptologic technician (collection) (CTR) student cohort in the first revised Basic Manual Morse Trainer (BMMT) course wrapped up, Jan. 28, 2016 at the Center for Information Dominance (CID) Unit Corry Station.

The update included the latest Manual Morse software used by the Department of Defense and was tested out in a nine-week pilot course that concluded in September. The self-paced course provides basic instruction and practical application in the interception of Morse-type communications.

November  3, 2015 -  Students learn Morse code while attending the first revised Basic Manual Morse Trainer (BMMT) course at the Center for Information Dominance (CID) Unit Corry Station. Morse code is just one tool that cryptologic technician (collection) Sailors use as members of the Navy’s Information Warfare community to perform collection, analysis and reporting on communication signals. (U.S. Navy photo by Information Systems Technician 1st Class Kristin Carter)
November  3, 2015 -  Students learn Morse code while attending the first revised Basic Manual Morse Trainer (BMMT) course at the Center for Information Dominance (CID) Unit Corry Station. Morse code is just one tool that cryptologic technician (collection) Sailors use as members of the Navy's Information Warfare community to perform collection, analysis and reporting on communication signals. (U.S. Navy photo by Information Systems Technician 1st Class Kristin Carter)

"Morse code continues to be an inexpensive and efficient means of communication for many states throughout the globe,” said Senior Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) (IDW/NAC/SW/AW) Tony Gonzales, CTR rate training manager for CID headquarters. “Manual Morse operators here at Corry Station are learning a skill set that has stood the test of time. Many of our most senior CTRs began their careers as Manual Morse operators.”

In the updated course, Sailors learn how to operate radio-receiving and associated computer-based equipment. From basic safeguards of security to communication procedures and systems theory to operation of communications equipment, the course teaches how to intercept Morse communications, as well as copy and send Morse code.

“There is something special about learning a skill that Sailors have been performing since World War II,” said Gonzales. “The connection between the past, present and future cryptologic technician (collection) is rarely seen in our line of work as technologies are forever changing."

Morse is just one tool that CTRs use as members of the Navy's Information Warfare community to perform collection, analysis and reporting on communication signals.

"Morse code is not only used in military operations but also in commercial navigation,” said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class (IDW/SW) Gabriel Albarran, the BMMT course supervisor. “Search and rescue, science navigations and weather status are frequently passed in automated Morse code.”

Sailors can take the course immediately following CTR "A" school or can be assigned as fleet returnees to the course as part of their transfer. The course is now offered to about 40 CTRs each year in the pay grades of E-1 through E-5.

“It's a language,” said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Seaman Mary Kaitlin McKeeby, who beat the course record set during the pilot by two days, finishing the self-paced course in 39 days. “If you have a knack for languages, (Morse code) is going to be easier to pick up.”

She stressed the importance of staying composed while learning Morse code and persisting through the lessons even when making a mistake.

Graduates receive NEC 9169 as a Morse code intercept operator and undergraduate college credit through the American Council on Education. They may also be eligible for selective re-enlistment bonuses in both zones A and B.

Morse code training has been taking place continuously at Naval Air Station Pensacola Corry Station since 2005, when the Navy moved the training back to Corry Station, in favor of cost and time savings by relocating the course with the cryptology “A” school. A long partnership with the Army providing the training came to an end at that time.

The Center for Information Dominance (CID) based at Corry Station in Pensacola, Florida, is the Navy's learning center that leads, manages and delivers Navy and joint forces training in information operations, information warfare, information technology, cryptology and intelligence.

With nearly 1,300 military, civilian and contracted staff members, CID provides training for approximately 22,000 members of the U.S. armed services and allied forces each year. CID oversees the development and administration of more than 200 courses at four commands, two detachments and 12 learning sites throughout the United States and Japan.

By U.S. Navy Carla McCarthy, Center for Information Dominance
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2016

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