News: Marines keep information flowing
Story by Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – In the chaos of combat, Marines in Afghanistan constantly communicate with their commanders to receive lifesaving support.
To organize the ebb and flow of information coming in, Marines operate from a Combat Operations Center. Marines at each level of the COC direct information to the coalition forces who control all the units in their area of operations.
Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) began a Mission Rehearsal Exercise Dec. 5, to perfect this vital role before they deploy to Afghanistan during early 2012.
Marines in the field periodically send status reports and any significant actions to their COC. If the troops need any support, such as explosive ordnance disposal to neutralize an improvised explosive device, the Marines in the COC will relay the information to a nearby EOD team who can eliminate the threat.
“If the Marines need any gear or support, we can give them any assets needed for mission accomplishment,” said Cpl. Steven E. Relea, a watch clerk with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group. He added that the Marines in his part of the COC create combat logistics patrols, send them out and organize them in combat operations.
If a mistake is made in communicating and coordinating support, lives could be lost.
"The primary goal of the COC is to be the collection hub of information that allows for situational awareness in planning, a crisis response hub while the Marines are outside the wire and a collection point of information upon return," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Martin L. Trujillo, operations chief, I MEF (Fwd) "It's a critical necessity. Not only is it life saving, but assists all Marines in preparing for operations."
The COC’s staff needs to be vigilant, just like troops in the field, because at any time they may need to relay information.
"The MRX must contain subordinate cells from the major subordinate units to allow for an information flow which teaches the higher and supporting staffs to work together in concert to achieve both a common understanding and operational picture," said Trujillo.
The COC helps Marines get the support they need to complete their missions. They make sure all coalition troops are working together effectively.
“This is great for the Marines deploying,” said Relea.“Mastering these skills now will save lives in Afghanistan.”