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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Cords hang from the walls, modems work to their full capabilities, maps cover the room and countless monitors work in unison.
To some this may sound like a setting for a movie taking place in the intergalactic future, but for the Marines staffing the combat operations center in support of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group’s upcoming Afghanistan deployment, this is an all too familiar scene.
Marines and sailors that will be deploying have been working in Combat Logistics Battalion 8’s mock COC in preparation for the move to southern Helmand province.
All members of the operations hub are required to work together as a team, since they are responsible for vital pieces of the unit’s information, statistics and missions.
“Our job is crucial and everyone needs to know their duties,” said Staff Sgt. Derrick Lauderdale, the watch chief for CLB-8. “Our job can mean the difference between saving lives and [losing] lives.”
Crucial duties add significant stressors to the job of a servicemember in the COC. If a unit of Marines embarks on a patrol or convoy, it is the combat operations center’s responsibility to keep accountability of the Marines, their packs, weapons and other logistics.
In addition to keeping count of these Marines, the COC is the only point of contact the patrolling unit has with home base.
As if these strenuous duties weren’t enough, the majority of the Marines working in the operations center have never worked in one. Learning the programs, systems and duties associated with the job is a challenge in itself for Marines such as Cpl. Christopher P. McGhee, a motor vehicle mechanic.
“I’ve never worked in a COC, but a lot of the habits I had as a mechanic carried over,” he said. “As a mechanic you have to be tedious and have attention to detail, it’s the same in the COC.
“You have to pay attention and make sure you are doing the job right the first time.”
Though he is one of many who have never performed in his current billet, McGhee feels that has helped him and the Marines around him work together as one.
“Since we all started at the same level, we all have helped each other learn and understand the programs and jobs we each have,” McGhee said. “Our communication is excellent and everyone is working together fine.”
The accomplishment of duties and responsibilities of a Marine or sailor assigned to the COC are undoubtedly critical to mission success.
Though the majority of the 13 man team that will run the COC has never done it before, the 2nd MLG is dedicating quality time, gear and training to ensuring their command post is run by a group of stellar service men and women.