Monitoring a battle space during a deployment is a constant and endless effort. It takes an enormous amount of co-operation from each of the Soldiers in the Tactical Operations Center to maintain the day-to-day operations in an operational environment.

Soldiers from the 17th Fires Brigade Current Operations provide insight on what it takes to make the TOC tick.

“We maintain stability, plan operations, track movements and missions of both U.S. and Iraqi
security forces on a daily bases,” said Sgt. 1st Class Averell Thompson, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 17th Fires Brigade current operations battle captain and native of Starkville, Miss.

The TOC consists of a collection of Soldiers from different sections such as Intelligence, Air Traffic Control, and Air Defense all providing the latest intelligence from each of their sections in an effort to keep the commander completely informed.

The 17th FiB deployed to Basra, Iraq, in July 2009 and has maintained operational control by, with, and through the Iraqi security orces throughout Basra province.

While deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 17th FiB has been tasked with a role not normally assigned to a fires brigade due to its unique manning and structure. Junior Soldiers are handling similar positions and responsibilities that normally fall to senior level NCO’s and officers in other maneuver brigades.

“We’re being given the opportunity to shoulder a large amount of responsibility. Not only does this show the adaptability of the brigades Soldiers, but also highlights the flexibility that field artillery is known for Army-wide,” said Sgt. Courtney Kargel, HHB, 17th FiB Intelligence battle captain and native of Fort Myers, Fla.

Source: Spc. Maurice Galloway for War on Terror News.

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