Operations center tracks convoys and entry control points

Story and photo by Sgt. John Stimac
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE LIBERTY, Iraq — Soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st Battalion, 82nd Cavalry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) are making sure Contingency Operating Base Liberty is safe and secure, by monitoring and tracking personnel and equipment that come on and off the COB.

The Area Defense Operations Center is manned 24 hours a day to track any significant events on or around the base's entry-control points, and convoys coming in and out of the base.

Staff Sgt. Chatch Revenge, a current operations assistant from HHT and a Portland, Ore., native, said she assists with all facets of daytime operations.

"We track all of the unit's taskings," she said. "We oversee the ECPs and respond if anything happens. It's very reactionary, almost like a dispatch job."

Revenge said the unit has its own quick reaction force team that responds if there are any issues around the gates. This is especially important at times when the equipment used to check in and badge local nationals malfunctions.

"Sometimes things can get a little testy, so we might have to send a QRF team to assess the situation," she said.

The ADOC uses a system called Command Post of the Future to track all incidents and events around the base, said Revenge.

"Using the CPOF, we can plot points where shots were fired and then zoom in on the grid with our cameras and look for anything suspicious," she said.

Spc. Ernesto Sanchez, a radio-transmitter operator with HHT and a Dallas native, said he logs information on the convoys that roll out at night and uses the CPOF system to track them.

"I track all the convoy's movements and make sure they go where they need to be," he said. "I stay in constant communications with my battle noncommissioned officer in charge and inform them what is going on."

Sanchez said he also informs the convoy of any possible improvised explosive devices that may have been detected on the route.

"This job keeps me very busy," he said. "The shift goes by really fast."

First Lt. Mathew H. Lawson, the COB Liberty ADOC battle captain and a Johnson City, Texas, native, said his Soldiers are the central dispatch for emergency events and routine force protection issues.

"At night we deal with convoys primarily," he said. "We are battle tracking the convoy's common operating picture and also tracking any additional assets the convoy is providing."

Lawson said they track anywhere from four to six convoys each night, and also focus on tracking the medical evacuation status on trips to COB Taji and Contingency Operating Location Kalsu.

"If we see an issue, we quickly try to see what the problem is," he said.

Lawson said their busier nights are caused by red air, which means that no air support is available for the convoys.

"The convoys can still go out but we need a red air memorandum signed by higher to be able to do that," he said. "Red air adds a little more stress to the job, but we have been relatively lucky and our convoys have rarely gotten hit with anything."

Lawson said he has enjoyed his deployment and the time he gets to spend working with his crew.

"It's nice to interact with all the different personalities of the guys on shift," he said. "It's fun to talk with everyone, maintain a good work ethic, and it makes the days go by a lot faster."