FORT IRWIN, Calif. (March 11, 2016) -- Human anatomy is a subject often studied by students in high school, but when it comes to battlefield operations, where does the Tactical Operating Center fit in relation to the body?
If battlefield operations had to be looked at in terms of the human anatomy, then the TOC would be the brain, said Capt. Deanna Tran, operational and administrative law attorney for 3rd Cavalry Regiment.
"We [personnel at the TOC] control the whole operational picture like the brain controls the human body," Tran said.
Tran and other Troopers experienced operations in the regimental TOC during 3rd CR's month-long exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. The regiment sent more than 6,000 individuals, Feb. 1, to NTC.
A TOC is a command post for all operations on the battlefield, in which, includes a small group of military personnel from different sections who guide several units through tactical missions.
"The TOC is important because it helps manage the fight, and it organizes all of the plans for the lower echelons," said Tran. "It's crucial that the information that's coming from the TOC is accurate because we are making decisions and providing support to the squadrons."
Some of staff elements in the regimental TOC include administrative, logistics, plans and operations, fires, aviation, intelligence, medical, and legal among others.
The legal section is just one of many elements that supports the operational environment to achieve the overall mission during NTC.
Operations at the TOC never ceased, as Tran and her section stayed busy around the clock.
"We had to provide legal support for the TOC for 24 hours on operational law issues, which included fire missions, internally displaced people missions, detainee operations and non-combatant evacuation operations," she said. "Any type of legal issues that arose in the TOC, we would advise the commander or whoever was making the decision on a situation from a legal standpoint."
With several different elements within the regimental TOC, each staff section adds a piece to a much larger puzzle, making every section essential to operations.
So, how did the regiment use information from all of these different elements within the TOC on the battlefield?
Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Gendron, operations noncommissioned officer in charge for the regimental TOC, helped to control all of the assets used on the battlefield with the information he received from the staff sections.
Gendron's position is one of many positions in a TOC; however, when it comes to engaging the enemy on the battlefield, he is the person everyone looks toward.
"I manage all of the war fighting functions to ensure synchronization on the battlefield so the movement and maneuver element can move successfully to the objective," said Gendron. "I always wanted to be the battle NCO for a major operation, so I can coordinate the war fighting functions to the best of my ability and maximize the effectiveness on the battlefield."
The training in the regimental TOC at NTC was a huge learning experience, said Gendron.
"It was a great experience to use the information the other sections provided to coordinate the warfighting functions to maximal effectiveness on the battlefield," he said.
Tran added, "For me, TOC operations at NTC was a great learning experience; it was very interesting to be a part of TOC operations because of all the moving pieces coming together as one."