CAMP DWYER, Afghanistan --
The Regimental Combat Team 7 Advisory Training Teams opened a Joint Tactical Operation Center, Sept. 3, at Camp Dwyer, Helmand province, Afghanistan, allowing Marines to mentor the Afghan National Army in conducting command and control operations.
The JTOC is a command center where Marines oversee ANA soldiers as they plan operations, conduct missions and communicate with three Kandaks throughout southern Afghanistan.
The Afghan National Army and Marines are working alongside each other in the JTOC. They are feeding off each other learning how to work with what they have.
“All the ANA have to work with right now is a radio, and it is pretty amazing to see the things they can do, with how little they have to work with,” said 1st Lt. Patrick Maguire, embedded training team commander and logistics and administration mentor.
During World War II, a radio was the only way to pass information from position to position. Radios enabled the troops in the battle space to communicate their needs and situation to higher headquarters. Now the Marines are helping the ANA transition into a more organized military by channeling the flow of information allowing commanders to make immediate and calculated decisions.
The command and control skill sets range from administration and logistic skills, to planning missions and training operations to maintaining a casualty patient tracker. There are many assets that make up an effective command and control element in a battle space.
The ANA already have policies that their military goes by that have been set in place for quite some time, said Maguire, 25, from Chelmsford, Mass. The Marines are just helping tweak them a little bit and get them on the right path.
“We are not trying to turn them into the Marine Corps,” said Maguire. “We are helping them organize their command and control in such a way that will allow them to effectively self sustain combat operations.”
Seaman Bruce Woods, the advisory training group corpsman said, that he has been working with the ANA for several months now on medical procedures, and the more he teaches them the more they want to learn.
“The ANA have been eager to learn. They are soaking all the information that we have been teaching like a sponge,” said Maguire.
The Marines are teaching the ANA command and controls skills so they can master them, and use their knowledge to improve the flow of information on all levels in their military.
“The end result we want from the JTOC is the ANA taking all the information away from this training and being able to apply it when the Marines are gone,” said Maguire.