News: Behind the scenes
Story by Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Behind the action of the air and ground combat elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force, is the command element that coordinates the vigilant ballet of war.
The Exercise Control Center for Large Scale Exercise-1/Javelin Thrust 2012 creats the chaos for the command element.
“I’m kind of the man behind the curtain,” said Maj. Ben Brown, exercise control, LSE-1/JT12. “Here we combine live events with simulated scenarios and put that all together to help the units train better.”
From their busy offices on the Combat Center’s mainside, the Marines control everything that is supposed to be happening in LSE-1/JT12. From troop movements to organized attacks, the control center does what they can to make it a realistic and educational exercise.
“This exercise is much more than just this final exercise,” said Col. Andrew Kennedy, assistant chief of staff for Combat Center operations. “The integrated planning that goes on between the higher headquarters and the subordinate elements produces a plan for the units to execute.”
Everything involved with LSE-1 is under examination. LSE-1/JT12 is a prototype exercise for developing the Large Scale Exercise, a cornerstone of the MAGTF Training Program.
The Exercise Control Center is a hub of activity for JT12. This is where they examine how well the exercise is faring and to adjust the training accordingly.
“We try and match the training to what each unit needs during the exercise,” Brown said. “From here we can see all of the battlespace and make sure the units don’t get more than they can handle.”
The ExCon is much like any other center of command, but on a larger scale. The ExCon for LSE-1/JT12 keeps track of over a dozen units, with over 5,000 Marines involved in the exercise.
“We’ll know how everything went in the exercise after the final after action report,” Kennedy said. “We’ll know what we did wrong in this exercise and improve for future LSEs.”
For photos of the ExCon visit the Combat Center’s facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/thecombat center.