1/6 Marine keeps infantry company communicating

11 Jan 2007 | Cpl. Paul Robbins Jr.

An infantry company operates by the orders of its commander, and Lance Cpl. Morgan L. Cooper ensures those orders are heard by all.

Cooper, 26-year-old company radio operator for Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, serves as the company commander’s personal radio operator while maintaining all communications equipment for the company.

Operating in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Cooper’s main purpose with the company is to provide his commander with open lines of communication to his Marines and the rest of the battalion.

“He spends almost all of his time at my side,” said Capt. Jody E. White, 35-year-old commanding officer of Company C. “He allows me to command and control my company while keeping in contact with the battalion.”

During field operations, Cooper maintains two separate radios to assist in his commander’s coordination of forces.

By shouldering the responsibility of operating and maintaining field communications between company and battalion assets, Cooper serves as the nerve center for the company, said White, a native of Pittsburgh, Penn.

“Communication is one of our greatest weapons on the battlefield,” said Cooper, a native of Calvin, Kent. “If we can’t communicate, it becomes hard to fight effectively.”

Although Cooper’s efforts in the field are vital to the mission, maintaining the communications equipment of an infantry company commands the majority of his attention.

Cooper is responsible for the upkeep of dozens of radios used by the company throughout Ramadi.

Much of Cooper’s typical day is spent monitoring and repairing the company’s equipment at various sites.

“He does a great job,” said White. “He is always running around and getting the job done.”

Both responsibilities present a considerable challenge, but working as the commander’s radio operator is the toughest part of the job, said Cooper, now on his first deployment to Iraq.

Operating in a combat zone and working so closely with the command, Cooper is held to a high standard.

“I’m a hard person to work for,” said White. “I expect to pick up my radios and have them work every time.”

Cooper is content with the challenges and stresses that his responsibilities call for him to endure.

The importance of the position was a major factor in his decision to volunteer to come to an infantry battalion after serving for more than three years in a Marine Aircraft Wing, said Cooper.

“There is a lot of pride in knowing that the (commanding officer) and the Marines of the company can count on me,” said Cooper. “It’s the reason I wanted to be a part of an infantry company.”