Monday, January 19, 2009

How does the commander make decisions to counter the enemy?

Intelligence officers and analyst provide to the commander a picture of the enemy situation. Some of the indicators in which create this picture includes the following items: location, size, likely courses of actions, etc. Analyst are taught magical tricks at the “Home of Intelligence”, located at Ft Huachuca, AZ and we are not allowed to use crystal balls on any deployments, so we look to TTP’s (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) along with historical data to make assessments as to what to expect from the enemy.

We have a fairly small intelligence team that began forming around May 2008. Everyone has their own strengths, helping our team to gel. This is the first time the majority of us have ever been apart of an Aviation unit, so to be successful we depend on our Aviators, especially our boss; who is a Pilot. He explains what it’s like to fly helicopters. He brings the entire picture together by sharing what he sees from the air, to include a ground perspective, which helps us support Soldiers on the ground.

This job requires a lot of reading, memorization, attention to detail, analytical and briefing skills. And you will definitely get your “Power Point Ranger” tab! Every analyst in our section will be an expert on building briefings in Microsoft Power Point. This is simply because it is a tool that helps present a picture to the commander. But don’t worry because if you are not up to par on any of these skills, trust that you will be by the end of a month working with our “Super Cool” team!

Due to the nature of our job, we have to maintain our SA. The Intel section is responsible for working 24 hours a day. So in any given day, I can work anywhere from 9-12 hours, thirteen days straight and then a well deserved off day on day fourteen.

At the start of my shift, I get an update on the past 24 hours from one of the analysts. After that I start preparing for the morning CUB a.k.a. Commander’s Update Brief. Throughout the night there may be additional requirements that will come up that are mission specific. Many times we may be responsible for requesting Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAV) feeds to the Tactical Operation Center (TOC) in addition to updating the entire TOC crew with the current threat picture. After I brief the Colonel and my boss on the last 24/48 hours my shift is over.

After work I try to work out. I have recently started the P90X work out program that centers on muscle confusion and diet control. We will see if it works in 90 days! After working out, I grab a shower and attempt to sleep until my “Friend/ battle buddy” from college wakes me for dinner chow. I return to my CHU (housing unit) for more sleep and then I’m back up at 12:30 a.m. getting ready for work. Because of the time difference between Iraq and the States, I’m able to call home prior to my shift and my family is just getting home from school and work.

During my free time, I try to make time to hang out in the local coffee shop with friends and co-workers, read, study for the GMAT exam, and watch movies. One of my personal goals is to watch every Disney movie/cartoon ever made!

Captain La Tonya Smith

From: Eutaw, AL and I am currently living in Baghdad, Iraq (Over the last 3 years I have lived in Greensboro, N.C., Ft Benning, GA., Ft Huachuca, AZ and Alexandria, VA)

Reason for joining the National Guard:
• Education benefits!
• Meet new WEIRD people!
• Free Travel!
• Service to Country!

Military Background:
• Joined the National Guard under the Simultaneous Membership Program in 2002
• Graduated/Commissioned as a 2LT from Marion Military Institute (Military Junior College) Early Commissioning Program May 2003
• Since July 2008, I served as a J2 Watch Officer at the National Guard Bureau Joint Operations Coordination Center (JoCC) in Arlington, VA.
• This is my first OCONUS deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since joining the National Guard
• I have deployed to support several US Homeland defense missions to include:
o Hurricane Katrina - Hammonds, LA
o California Wildfires - Sacramento, CA
o Hurricane Dean - St Croix, VI

Civilian Career:
• UNEMPLOYED!!! Waiting for Grad School and deciding what I want to be when I grow up!

Capt. La Tonya Smith, an intelligence officer with Task Force 449 Aviation Brigade, is serving in Baghdad, Iraq. Smith has been in the Army National Guard since 2002 and is on her first deployment.

Col. Paul Barbee, Task Force 449 Aviation Brigade Commander, awards Capt. La Tonya Smith a combat patch for her dedicated service in a combat zone, at a ceremony in Baghdad, January 17.

N.C. Army National Guard members, with Task Force 449, completed a 3.72 mile run in honor of the National Guard birthday of 372 years. Capt. La Tonya Smith (pictured far right, Runner 2727) showed her spirit for the
Guard and participated in the run.

1 comment:

  1. Our prayers are with you & the 449th, as my husband serves with you!