MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. – Marines with Combat Logistics Company 16, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, conducted a combat operations center exercise in support of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 1-14 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., Sept. 8 – Oct. 27, 2013.
Marines at the COC provided command and control for all logistics elements involved in the WTI course by delivering communications support to the transportation and supply units in the field.
“We keep the commander posted on what’s going on,” said Sgt. Justin R. Willis, watch chief, CLC-16. “Ninety percent of the job is receiving and filtering a lot of information, and the other ten percent is reacting by providing support.”
The WTI is a biannual, graduate-level Marine aviation instructor training course designed to provide pilots with training on aviation weapons systems and tactics as well as qualify them as WTIs. Once certified, the Marines will return to their units and pass on their knowledge.
Marines from 1st MLG provided logistical support essential for the course. The COC set up by CLC-16 provided services to logistics elements in CLR-15, CLR-1, CLR-17, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Maintenance Battalion and 1st Medical Battalion.
“We do several things during the WTI,” said Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Taylor, operations chief, CLC-16. “We have Marines that manage, track and provide food and water to the logistical elements. We also do our own intelligence for the detachment and research things such as road and weather conditions so we know how we can support units. In addition, we draw and provide bulk fuel to the units out there and conduct annual training for the units that make up CLC-16.”
As the scale of operations increased, CLC-16 gained additional personnel. The company averages 55 personnel, but other units augmented them during WTI 1-14 to reach a total of 198 Marines and sailors.
The WTI requires a large area of operations, and for an exercise of this magnitude, command and control operations had to function at all times.
“The AO is approximately a 200-mile radius compared to Mojave Viper, which can be a 90-mile radius,” said Willis, a native of Huddleston, Va. “Since the exercise is conducted on paved roads, we have to deal with civilian vehicles. It’s a good experience if we ever conduct operations in countries like Iraq, where you have to deal with the civilian populace while operating in a convoy.”
The COC’s organization was kept lean, operated by only six Marines. Despite this, they carried out the mission smoothly and efficiently.
“The junior Marines with us really did a good job by providing pertinent information to the units in the field,” said Willis. “Despite coming from a data background, they became proficient not only in their own military occupational specialties, but also as field operators and logisticians. Even though a lot of the tasks were outside of their comfort zone, they just stepped up and did what needed to be done.”