CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq -- When Sgt. Wick goes to work, he finds himself surrounded by a myriad of plasma screens, telephones ringing and computer screens glowing with digitized maps. He sorts through it all though to decipher a clear picture of the battlefield for the General and his staff.
Sergeant Jeffrey Allen Wick, a 27-year-old Syracuse, N.Y. native works in the 2nd Marine Division’s combat operations center as the watch chief. He is the main link for information from the battlefield to the officers commanding this unit.
Wick is a reserved individual, who despite the long hours in the COC, always keeps sharp as he constantly walks back and forth in his area monitoring his Marines’ progress.
He and his team of four monitor the C2PC (command and control personal computer), which regulates all information from fighting units to the command post here. The general and his staff use this critical data to counter the insurgency and formulate their battle plans.
“Our system collects information straight from the troops in enemy contact and gives accurate map coordinates for their locations,” said Wick, a former student from Onondoga Community College. “Basically, we build a picture so the officers can become familiar with the area of operations.”
Wick helps to build what is termed as the ‘common operational picture.’ It’s a physical and statistical map of troop movements, equipment and battle reports. It’s the new age version of the map table a 19th century general might have used to contemplate maneuvers using miniature cannons and horseback soldiers.
“What we do here is no different than what the military used many years ago, only we utilize technology to get information fast and accurately,” said Wick.
The billet Wick holds is normally for a Marine well above his rank and experience. His work ethic is what got him the job and it’s what helps him get it done. When a unit needs the C2PC system built into their network Wick is the man who coaches Marines on how to use it. His knowledge makes him the subject matter expert – it’s something he’s quite used to.
As a gunner for the M-220 Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided missile system, Wick was responsible for literally millions of dollars worth of equipment. He also worked at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va. as a primary marksmanship instructor, teaching Marines the fundamentals of firing rifles – something Marines have historically prided themselves in.
His ability to interact with people and react quickly under pressure showed his superiors what he was made of. He was transferred to work in operations here with a new military occupational specialty as a small unit operations specialist.
As Wick trained in his new MOS with the division headquarters on their work-up exercises for this operation, he found himself working in the center of all activity in the division.
“I think we were successful here in the three months we’ve been deployed,” said Wick. “Already we’re entirely familiar with the area so when say a firefight occurs, we can show the officers exactly where it is.”
Life isn’t all work for this Marine though. Wick’s wife and five-month-old son are waiting for him to return.
When he’s home he makes every effort to spend time with them. And as he comes up on his eight-year mark in the Marine Corps, he’s doing his best to excel in his field to build a brighter future for them.
His philosophy on life, which is reflected in both his work and home life, paints him as a humble man; it’s what his success is built upon.
“No matter how well we do, we can’t take life for granted,” said Wick. “I’ve learned a lot here already, and I don’t waste time with the small stuff. I intend to make the most of every day.”