Fighting 6th charge into future

14 Nov 2001 | Sgt. Joshua S. Higgins

With new technology comes a new way of life. For example, it wasn't so very long ago that Alexander Graham Bell invented the first telephone. Now we have cellular phones that can be dialed at the sound of a person's voice. And what would anyone have done in the 1990s without the pager? But with this new technology comes something more important than luxury items... with it comes new ways of fighting wars.

During a recent simulation exercise conducted here, Devil Dogs with 6th Marine Regiment put some of these new technologies to the test.

The exercise is performed completely digitally by sending information concerning unit movements and fire missions via computer to the unit's command and control center. Here they are mapped within a C2PC (Command and Control Personal Computer) and projected onto an advanced projection screen called a smart board.

It is here according to Maj. Evan G. Leblanc, an air officer with 6th Marines, that senior personnel make decisions pertaining to offensive and defensive maneuvers, which are relayed back to the detachments.

"In the past Marines have strictly relied on radio transmittals to report movements and missions making it difficult to accurately map because of delays," said the native of Baton Rouge, La.

The decisions made are based on a simulated enemies actions controlled by a military analyst inside the simulation center here, in this case being Skip Clarkson of Jacksonville, N.C.

"It is my job to make decisions consistent with the tactics, techniques, and procedures of an opposing force," said Clarkson.

The enemy's position may also be seen on the smart board as well as the results of simulated munitions, which according to Clarkson are based on the Joint Munitions Effects Manual.

Also inside the simulation center is what Leblanc referred to as cells. Each cell representing a different element of the simulated Marine Air Ground Task Force such as assault amphibious, light armored reconnaissance, and air detachments. The cells are made up of Marines knowledgeable in their Military Occupational Specialty who maneuver their unit and digitally report their adjustments to the command and control center.

This exercise along with a previous Combined Arms Simulated Training Exercise and an upcoming Supporting Arms Training Exercise are precursors for an upcoming three-month deployment to Twentynine Palms, Calif., for a Combined Arms Exercise.

"What this exercise in particular does is take Marines to a different level of what they can do in terms of interaction," said Leblanc. "It increases our accuracy and gives us situational awareness that we would not otherwise have had.