2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq – To start the day’s work, leaders highlight issues that need attention during the day. As always, Sgt. Maj. Lasonjia Stewart, 26th BSB, focuses the soldiers on improving the basics and maintaining simple discipline.
Members of the 26th Brigade Support Battalion Tactical Operations Center, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, pose in front of the building where they spend most of their hours in Iraq.
“I’m all about making sure our soldiers are safe,” Sgt. Maj. Stewart said. “It’s about checking the small things, to make sure the big things are taken care of.”
Spc. Thomas McNamee starts his shift each day by ensuring radios at the battalion and the ones at the subordinate companies are operating properly.
“Most days we make it look easy, but others it does take a lot of work,” he said.
Not unlike the rest of his team, he has worked a 13- to 14-hour shift every day for the last nine months in Iraq. He recently switched shifts in the 26th BSB’s TOC. This switch placed him on night shift, which he said is more physically demanding.
His teammates support this view as they struggle against their body’s natural inclination to sleep at night to ensure the safety of the battalion’s convoys on the road. The battalion recently completed over 420 separate convoys in support of the Spartan Brigade.
“It may take 14 hours and eight cups of coffee a night, but we’ll push [the convoy], track it and bring them home,” stated Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Bowers, the night shift non-commissioned officer in charge.
The convoy’s safety is the primary concern during any shift. The personnel in the TOC coordinate with other units to improve the survival odds for convoys while on the road.
“We have a lot of respect for the personnel driving in the convoys,” said Capt. Jennifer Powers, the day shift officer in charge. “The least we can do is make sure they are protected on the road, by ground and air.”
“If you need it, I can get it,” added Staff Sgt. Darrell Hill when asked about his role in the TOC. “I put out fires. I’ll run the issue down until it’s out.”
His statement is also an allusion to a night the building the TOC is located in caught fire. He was on hand to put out the fire. Much of what the soldiers do is about handling small unforeseen crises.
Regardless of the time of day, the soldiers rise to the occasion and resolve the issues – both literally and metaphorically.
|Date||Action||Time Elapsed (h:m:s)|
|08/9/2010 03:46||Asset Received||00:00:00|
|08/9/2010 03:49||Asset Published||00:02:41|