CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq -- Sitting inside a cramped space in the back of a humvee, Brownstone, Mich., native Lance Cpl. Bryan A. Lincoln keeps an eye on a computer screen, waiting and watching for the enemy to make a move.
Lincoln is a radar operator with the Counter-Battery Radar section supporting 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, whose job is to keep tabs on the Al Qa’im area of operations. If anything from small arms fire to artillery is fired, his job is to track it, locate its position and send the information up for targeting.
“We track hostile mortar, artillery and small arms fire,” said Lincoln, the 19-year-old graduate of Woodhaven High School. “We track where it came from and where it’s going.”
When the enemy fires a mortar round into the air, the high-tech equipment used by the Counter-Battery Radar team goes into action. The radar determines the starting location of the round, its current altitude and the speed the round is traveling, according to Lincoln.
“We use the speed of the round to determine its type. Over 500 miles per hour, it’s a rocket,” said Lincoln.
Once all the information on the fired enemy ordnance is gathered, it is passed up to the battalion’s command operations center where the data is used to determine a course of action against the aggressors.
One example Lincoln remembered is where an enemy mortar team fired rounds at Marines in the town of Sa’dah. Within minutes, the team passed the information to the command operations center, which ordered a counter-fire operation. Forward mortar teams with the unit were able to effectively return the enemy mortar fire in a timely manner.
Working with Lincoln is Cpl. David L. Dees, watch chief, Counter-Battery Radar section.
“Our school is about six weeks long,” said Dees, a native of Marion, Iowa. “We learn basic radar operation skills, how to call for (indirect) fire, how to track rounds, surveying and navigation.”
According to Dees, the Marines of Counter-Battery Radar normally work with an artillery battery and are capable of relaying information to the battery fire-direction control Marines to put rounds on target.
One of the key aspects of the job that entice both Lincoln and Dees is the ability to travel, along with saving lives on the battlefield.
“I like being able to travel and save lives,” said Lincoln. “We can protect Marines and destroy the enemy.”