MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Setting up a tent seems like a relatively simple endeavor for most, requiring a few poles, canvas and elbow grease. However, for the Marines of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, assembling a field-ready tactical command operations center is a detailed process requiring the expertise of logistical, communications, intelligence and operations agencies within the command.
Marines with the MEU’s Command Element erected field tents in the vicinity of the unit’s headquarters aboard Camp Lejeune this week in an effort to provide the 22nd MEU commander with a tactical command operations center. A similar exercise commenced here in early October and recent efforts have increasingly supplemented the previous training evolution.
Marines representing various military occupational specialties worked together throughout the week to correctly position the tents, connect heating ducts, map communications equipment and install electrical outlets.
Corporals Alleia D. Arthur and Justin K. Shortt, meteorologists and oceanographers with the 22nd MEU’s intelligence section, assembled an Automated Weather Observing System to monitor battlespace weather conditions for the commander.
“Basically, we are doing an operational check for the Automated Weather Observing System,” said Arthur, a Salem, Ore., native. “So, we plug it all in, hook it all up, make sure it is running right; make sure that it’s reading correct data.”
The COC provides planning tools and staff advisors, like the weather section, to support a commander’s decision making process in an operational environment.
Shortt, a Nashville, Tenn. native, said his team was responsible for individually briefing the commander inside the operations center on daily weather updates.
Throughout the week, key representatives with the staff operated in the tents to test the operations center’s functionality and efficiency.
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU recently began an aggressive series of progressively, more complex pre-deployment exercises designed to train and test the MEU's ability to operate as a cohesive and effective fighting force.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and its command element.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, consisting of a ground combat element, an aviation combat element, a logistics element and a command element, which is commanded by a colonel and comprised of approximately 2,200 service members ready to provide immediate response capabilities in a hostile or crisis mission. While deployed, each MEU also incorporates two KC-130 aircraft available from the continental U.S. to support the unit’s operations abroad.
There are seven U.S. Marine Expeditionary Units located around the world with one in Okinawa, Japan, and three on each continental coast of the United States.