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Company intel changes pace of operations

1 Aug 2008 | Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson

COMBAT OUPOST AKASHAT, Iraq – Intelligence specialists at the battalion level support a large area of operations, but some ground combat companies prefer to have “intel” elements at their level, especially when that unit is responsible for a large area itself.

Marines with the Company Level Intelligence Cell, Delta Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd LAR Bn., Regimental Combat Team 5 created their team before mobilization to allow the unit to conduct a more expedient and efficient surveillance and studying of the enemy.

Delta Co. is a reserve unit attached to 2nd LAR Bn. in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit mobilized out of Quatico, Va., December 2007, and now conducts counter-insurgency operations throughout western Al Anbar Province.

“Our company decided it would be a good idea because it provides a more accurate assessment of the patrol force,” said Cpl. Matt G. Lidster, 21, intelligence representative from Burke, Va., with the CLIC. “We picked it up on the fly and ran with it.”

The CLIC is comprised of several hand-picked Marines from the company and trained by the 2nd LAR intelligence platoon. Not all of the members possess the military occupational specialty of intelligence clerk, but they have backgrounds from previous education, such as foreign relations and consulting, that make them valuable intelligence gathering assets. Some of their expertise relies simply on street smarts.

“I interviewed and hand-picked the Marines that would fit the profile of a good intelligence representative,” said Sgt. Charles N. Frangis, chief of the CLIC. “I’ve managed a lot of people in my life, and these Marines are the most talented and well balanced group I’ve ever been in charge of.”

Since the group was established, the Marines have apprehended several key drug and oil smugglers suspected of funding the insurgency. The members believe they have made an immense difference in the effectiveness of company-level intelligence and are proud to be part of one of the few small elements currently operating.

“I love being part of the CLIC; it’s the best thing I could do as a job in Iraq,” said Lance Cpl. T.J. McCabe, 27, an intelligence representative from Stafford, Va., with CLIC. “It feels good to know that I’m helping out our unit – and the next unit – tremendously with the information we gather. We save lives because of the information we acquire.”

The members of the CLIC will continue their efforts to support the line platoons on both operations and base missions. Since the Marines have experienced such success, they encourage other companies to construct their own intelligence teams.

“I give the most credit to my Marines, the ones that are on the streets conversing with the people and collecting the intelligence for the company and western Al Anbar province,” said Frangis, 38, from Rexford, N.Y. “I think that company-level intelligence is a very good asset and should continue to grow.”