MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - On his deployment to Afghanistan last year, Cpl. Raymond P. Weeks found little sleep but plenty of purpose.
As an intelligence cell team leader with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Weeks worked tirelessly to train his Marines, gather information from patrols and produce company-level intelligence products in Helmand province’s Nawa District.
In recognition of his work during the deployment, the 21-year-old intelligence specialist from Miami was selected as the National Military Intelligence Association’s Col. Donald G. Cook Award recipient, April 20, 2011. He will be presented the award at an awards banquet next month.
According to the award, his “outstanding leadership and tactical intelligence proficiency significantly contributed to India Company’s reduction of Taliban capabilities” in their area of operation during the 2010 deployment.
After joining the battalion in 2008, Weeks said he was forced to learn his job quickly. Three months into 3/3’s deployment to Iraq later in the year, he was thrust into a sergeant’s billet despite being a newly-promoted lance corporal.
“Being thrown into the mix without training up to it put me in a learning environment,” Weeks said. “There wasn’t too much going on in Iraq, so I spent time learning the ropes and building confidence in briefing higher-ranking individuals from squad leaders to company commanders to two-star generals.”
Weeks remained with India Company after returning from Iraq, and carried this confidence into his second deployment two years later.
While in Afghanistan, he led India’s company-level intelligence cell — comprised of six infantry Marines without formal training — to provide intelligence coverage for the company’s seven positions in Helmand province.
“Working on the company level allows you to view your intelligence in the works, because you’re passing it right to the ground elements and they’re putting it into action,” Weeks said. “It’s pretty enjoyable when you get to see your work unfold on the battlefield.”
As part of India Company’s headquarters element, Weeks participated in patrols three times a week, and frequently joined his Marines on their patrols and operations.
Since the company’s small patrol bases were spread out and lacked email access, the CLIC Marines would patrol to them on foot and obtain debriefs in person. Weeks often used these patrols to teach them how to view the area like intelligence specialists.
“Cpl. Weeks could’ve just gotten the info from other people and figured out how to talk about it, but he went on patrol and experienced it himself,” Lance Cpl. Aaronn Richter, one of Weeks’ CLIC Marines, said. “This helped him have a better situational awareness, and painted a clearer picture in his head of what was happening.”
Though spread out in different areas over Helmand province, Weeks maintained constant contact with 3/3’s other CLIC leaders to share intelligence and pass on his learning experiences.
First Sgt. William J. Pinkerton, India Company’s first sergeant during the deployment, said Weeks’ intellect and ability to work independently enabled him to understand what the commander was looking for, and then teach to his team how to deliver with the intelligence product.
“Weeks took basic riflemen and mentored them into CLIC Marines,” Pinkerton from Marion, N.Y., said. “He wasn’t given any particular standard on how to train them, but he went the extra mile in giving them all the knowledge he had. By putting a lot of time in with them, he brought so much to their table, and brought a lot to the table for each of their platoons.”
In return for his guidance, Weeks said his CLIC Marines taught him the infantry side of the spectrum, which he said helped adjust his perspective on the intelligence he was gathering.
“My experiences at the platoon, company and battalion levels have given me a lot larger outlook on how to conduct intelligence products,” Weeks said. “They have helped me learn what the commanders are looking for, and if what they’re pushing down to the battalions is realistic and feasible. Now that I have these skills, I’ll be able to narrow my focus when moving up to a higher command.”
Over the past four years, Weeks has lived and breathed intelligence from within an infantry company, and now he’s looking for the opportunity to apply his knowledge at a higher-echelon unit like U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command.
Though 3/3 is slated to deploy to Afghanistan later this year, he will soon move to 3rd Marine Regiment’s headquarters in preparation for changing duty stations.
“Now, my concern is to mentor the junior Marines with my knowledge and what I’ve seen,” Weeks said.
|Date Posted:||04.29.2011 16:15|
|Location:||MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, HI, US|
This work, 3/3 Marine translates experience into action, earns prestigious award for intelligence work in Afghanistan, by SSgt Reece Lodder, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.