MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - -- Marines with Headquarters and Support Company, Anti-Terrorism Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, participated in a command post exercise here July 25, in preparation for upcoming deployments to Iraq early next year.
A command post is a series of tents, each of which contain various elements that are essential to running combat operations from the field.
“We practice setting this up about once every quarter,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. James M. Bullard, the operations chief for AT Bn. “This exercise is designed to simulate a real combat operation in a field environment.”
A forward operating command post generally consists of medical, intelligence, briefing, and logistics tents. The most important one of all, however, is the combat operations center.
“The COC is the nerve center of the entire command post,” Bullard said. “It’s where the battalion [commanding officer] controls all the units within his area of operation.”
Because it is vital to the overall mission accomplishment, the speed with which the command post is assembled is also a matter of great importance.
“A quick setup can be accomplished within one hour,” said 1st Lt. Matthew D. Plumser, the company commander for Headquarters and Support Co. “But to be fully operational with (communications), it would take no more than three hours.”
Lance Cpl. Joseph J. Carfagno, a field radio operator with H&S Co., was deployed to Camp Ashraf, Iraq, for roughly seven months. He knows from experience why this exercise is so important for the Marines of AT Bn.
“This isn’t just some training,” Carfagno said. “It’s stuff you actually do while you’re over there.”
Carfagno isn’t sure if he’ll be part of this upcoming deployment, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t taking the exercise seriously.
“The new guys in the battalion need to pay extra attention to how things work,” Carfagno said. “For those of us who’ve already deployed, it’s our responsibility to help them along and show them the way.”