News: Engineers attend JOC grand opening
By Spc. Brian Johnson
BAGHDAD — As leaders from 6th Iraqi Army Division and the U.S. Army 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, celebrated the grand opening of a new joint operations center at Joint Security Station Constitution, March 15, leaders from 16th Engineer Brigade and 101st Engineer Battalion celebrated getting them to this day.
The new JOC affords American and Iraqi forces the opportunity to bring command and control elements together under one roof.
"This structure provides the ability for our IA partners to work side-by-side with our 4/2 BCT brothers and train them how a tactical operations center should function," said Brig. Gen. Glenn C. Hammond, III, commander of 16th Engineer Brigade.
According to Hammond, the JOC provides a common picture of the current battlefield to both forces, which allows the Iraqi forces better command and control across their battle space while providing American forces an opportunity to see the effectiveness of their supporting role. The culmination will eventually lead the Iraqis to fully independent operations.
"This is exactly what our mission is here in Iraq; enable the Iraqi army to protect their nation and eliminate the threats," explained Hammond.
Planning for the construction of the new JOC took more than a month to complete. While the engineers from both nations worked together on construction of the JOC, the U.S. engineers assisted members of 6th IA Field Engineer Regiment to hone their construction skills.
"The Soldiers of the 1434th Engineer Company, 101st Eng. Bn., worked for many weeks, giving hands-on training that included basic carpentry, electrical and safety skills," said Lt. Col. Charles Cody, commander of 101st Engineer Battalion.
The U.S. engineers, from 101st, 621st Survey and Design Team and 1434th Engineer Company, worked alongside their Iraqi counterparts another two months after the planning phase to finish the project.
"The efforts of the 1434th Eng. Co. exceeded our expectations," said Cody. "The construction focused on everything, down to the finer details. This joint operations center will be a shining example of the continued partnership between our nations and militaries."
Leaders from the U.S. engineers said they were very proud of the effective of the partnership — the proof was in the building.
"The satisfaction and pride that I have seen in the engineers that built this project is easily witnessed," said Hammond. "From their faces as they take in the entire structure to the manner they describe the various details of the new facility."
Hammond said that when it is time for the U.S. engineers to go home soon, their indelible mark upon this land will be demonstrated in more than just the tracks they have laid in the sand.