Photo Information

130321-M-OH054-015 (Left) Lance Cpl’s. Nathaniel E. Winstead and Tony M. Chavez, both radio operators with 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, log radio checks withinthe command operations center, set up aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, March 21, 2013.From March 14-21, the 13th MEU set up their COC for a MEU Exercise to better train for their Western Pacific deployment this year. (Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Christopher O’Quin/Released)

Photo by Sgt. Christopher O'Quin

“Fighting 13th” readies command and control for deployment

22 Mar 2013 | Sgt. Christopher O'Quin 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit

In the 1984 film Amadeus, antagonistAntonio Salieri mentions Mozart’s work as miraculous, stating, “Displace one note and there would be diminishment, displace one phrase and the structure would fall”. Just like music needs the right structure and form to make an impact, so does a Marine Expeditionary Unit command operations center.

From March 14-21, the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit,ran their command operations center for a MEU Exercise, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The goal was to bring about a harmony between the Command Element and the supporting elements in their Marine Air-Ground Task Force through reliable communication, just like music.

A command operations center, or COC, provides the MEU leadership a means to provide command and control to all levels of the unit, receive real-time information and pass information to higher levels of command. This is achieved through use of expeditionary equipment and communication assets.

“Here we receive transmissions and pass the information along,” saidLance Cpl. Nathaniel E. Winstead, a radio operator with 13th MEU. “We are the voice of the COC. All communication comes through us. It wouldn’t be a COC without that direct line of communication.”

The MEU brought numerous shipping containers full of tents, antennas, radios and other technology to provide a variety of methods of communicating with other Marines.

“We’ve brought out GATR satellite systems, [Support Wide Area Network] Terminals, and a host of equipment to communicate with the supporting elements,” said 1st Lt. BulatChainourov, joint task force enabler officer in charge with the 13th MEU Command Element. “This enables the MEU to talk to everyone from pilots flying missions to company commanders leading troops on the battlefield.”

At the conclusion of the exercise, the 13th MEU packed up their gear into containers in preparation for future training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms. In the coming months, they will embark their gear for deployment aboard ship.

“The purpose of this MEUEX is to test our equipment, our Marines and ensure we can set up a Cape Set 3 COC during our deployment,” said Master Sgt. Joaquin F. Rios, assistant operations chief for 13th MEU. “If we need to run extended operations on shore we can have this up and running in less than 48 hours.”

The Cape Set 3 configuration of a COC is one of the smallest and lightest which will enable to the 13th MEU to maximize their space on ship and leave a smaller footprint on land. This ultimately makes the MEU lighter and more expeditionary.

If the time comes for the Fighting 13th to deploy their Marines and Sailors for a real world crisis, this COC can provide the infrastructure and communication to carry out any mission anywhere.


13th Marine Expeditionary Unit