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Lt. Col. Andrew Milburn, commanding officer, Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, speaks to Marines of Company B, 1st Bn., 3rd Marines, during their observance of the Marine Corps’ 233rd birthday in Karmah, Iraq, Nov. 10.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarlioti

Communication key to success in Karmah

24 Oct 2008 | Lance Cpl. Achilles Tsantarliotis 1st Marine Division

As Karmah progresses toward self-sufficient security with varying branches of Iraqi security forces, one of the final milestones necessary for the forces’ proficiency is organization.

 To assist the Iraqis, Marines operating in the region helped them to set up a Joint Coordination Center, which facilitates the organization of efforts of Provincial Security Forces, Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police and helps propel their collective efforts to efficiently and diligently promote security in the greater Karmah area.

 The JCC is essentially the hub for all communications between the security forces, explained Master Sgt. John Grimsley, the 36-year-old assistant operations chief from Groom, Texas, with Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1.

 The center is manned by representatives from each element of the ISF, as well as a Marine staff non-commissioned officer and a radio operator who are there to assist with any difficulties.

“We’ve taught them how to collect information and push it to the appropriate security forces as well as us,” Grimsley said. “It’s the only way to get our thumbprint off this country and help them secure their own land.”

 The significance of the center’s success is substantial, said Major Jason Borovies, the 31-year-old operations officer from Springfield, Va., with 1st Bn., 3rd Marines.

 “It’s important for two reasons,” he said. “One is for the obvious, it’s essential for them to coordinate their forces. Secondly, it’s important to coordinate their operations so we can continue the transition to an overwatch position.”

 Borovies credited both Marines and ISF for early successes at the center.

 “The Marines have a done an outstanding job setting up the JCC,” Borovies said. “They provided instruction and the Iraqi’s figured it out from there.”

 ISF leaders also recognize the significance in uniting their forces.

 “Providing communication between forces in the area is one of the most important things we have left to do,” said Iraqi Lt. Col. Ali Meshal Hardan, the lieutenant colonel of Karmah Iraqi Police Station. “Before the (JCC) no one seemed to know what was going on. Now we coordinate efforts of all the forces to secure Karmah, and work with Marines much better.”

1st Marine Division