News: ‘Raiders’ train to build Tactical Operations Center
Story by Spc. Nathan Thome
FORT CARSON, Colo. – More than 30 soldiers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, “Raiders,” 4th Infantry Division, worked together to set up a Tactical Operations Center during a field training exercise, March 26-April 5, at Fort Carson Training Area 11.
A TOC is designed to command and control joint operations at theater level, as well as provide facilities for planning, monitoring, and directing tactical operations of assigned forces in any military operation.
“When we deploy, we may have to use a mobile TOC to keep on the move with infantrymen,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jerry Ellis, training and operations platoon sergeant assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
A TOC consists of integrated group of tents and wheeled and/or tracked vehicles with shelters, and can be either stationary or mobile.
Upon arriving at TA 11, soldiers first established a suitable area in which to set up the TOC. Soldiers worked to set up the main tent, which acts as the nerve center of the TOC.
“Soldiers crawled underneath the main tent to hold support poles, so the soldiers on the outside could raise the tent and get it stabilized,” said Pfc. John Soto, infantryman assigned to HHD.
After setting up the main tent, soldiers configured the inside of the TOC, installing ventilation and connecting smaller, adjoining rooms.
Soto said once the tents were assembled, soldiers from every company worked together to move each tent into place, eventually creating a network of rooms and work spaces.
Upon completing the TOC build, soldiers split into two groups; one group covered the entire TOC with cammo netting, while the other began to set up communications within the TOC.
Soto said setting up the TOC was definitely a challenge, but provided a worthwhile and new learning experience.
During the second week of the exercise, soldiers faced environmental challenges, battling heavy gusting winds and snow.
“When it was time to take the TOC down, it was more difficult than we thought it would be,” said Soto. “We didn’t have ideal weather conditions, which was good training, because we might be faced with similar challenges on our future missions.
Due to adverse weather conditions, soldiers negotiated obstacles, including damaged equipment and torn cammo netting.
Ellis said soldiers weren’t prepared for the challenges the weather created, but they provided a valuable learning experience for future operations.
At the conclusion of their two-week exercise, Raider soldiers successfully assembled and disassembled an operational TOC.
Future plans will involve another TOC set up, with the goal of increasing the soldiers’ efficiency at the task.
“We will continue this training until everything becomes fluid and we can get our assembly time down to at least six hours,” said Ellis. “We have taken the weather and other elements into account during this exercise, so next time we will be more prepared and have a plan of action to work through it.”