posted by 147 FA on Apr 4

Hello to you all and welcome to the Joint Operations Center, or JOC for short. We understand if you feel the need to laugh, but we do ask that you please keep the “athletic support garment” jokes to yourselves. The JOC itself is one of many rooms inside the CJLOC, along with the BDOC and the MAST, carrying out the TTP’s, SOP’s, and CCIR’s of SECFOR put down by ASG-KU and ARCENT...whew!! Hopefully, this short write-up will give you a bit of a window into the routines and regular faces here in the bat cave…without so many confusing acronyms. Being the central hub of the camp has its ups and downs, but it really isn’t that bad. So, you ask, what exactly is it that we do? It can be summed up by saying that we maintain communications with every element here on camp, as well as many others outside the Kuwaiti Naval Base. We have the ability to relay messages from most local entities, dispatch any appropriate units, and notify all regional personnel. As the name of the center implies, we are a joint force working side-by-side with both the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard to coordinate security measures on both the land and sea. In addition to our sweet message relaying skills, we act as a bit of an intelligence gathering hub and tend to be frequented by a couple of individuals, often just looking to duck out of sight for a few moments. When fully staffed, we are comprised of four Battle Captains and four RTO’s, generally in corresponding pairs spread evenly throughout the day. This shift schedule has allowed us to maintain twenty-four hour operations through the entirety of the tour. But don’t let that fool you…whether it’s participating in a nightly round of America’s Favorite Game Show (Guess the Population of Camp Patriot…what did you think I meant), or the all-too familiar aroma of burned retina as eyes touch the sun for the first time in hours, we all find our own little ways to enjoy our time here in the JOC. Speaking of smoldering retinas, let’s meet the crew... CPT Keith Voss and SPC Todd BeynonCaptain Keith Voss is our assistant S-3 and senior Battle Captain. Enlisting in the National Guard in 1987, he served thirteen years before receiving his commission. He previously deployed to Iraq in 2004-05. Back home, Keith is a Software Engineer for Meta Payment Systems, spending most evenings at home with his wife Jennifer and 2 boxers, Payton and Jack. Specialist Todd “The Giant Voice” Beynon is one of the daytime RTO’s and has been enlisted since 2006. Todd grew up in Watertown and attends college in Mankato, MN with a major in Early Childhood Education. His parents are Terry and Lorie and he has two younger brothers, Greg and James, all residing in Watertown. SPC Keith Fitzgerald and SFC Jay RobertsOur next team consists of RTO, Specialist Keith Fitzgerald, and Battle Captain, Sergeant First Class Jay Roberts. Keith has been enlisted Artillery for 4 years and recently graduated from Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD with a degree in Psychology. His wife, Brandi, is a math teacher at Huron High School in Huron, SD. Jay has been in since the Stone Age…not really…but seventeen years has to count for something, right? Eight of those have been AGR and he has seen deployments to both Iraq and Kuwait. Awaiting his return back in Watertown are his wife, Sharon, his son, Sam, and daughters, Lauren and Kelsey. While still in Texas Jay became a grandfather to Carter, son of Kelsey, and the baby pictures haven’t stopped since. 1LT Tony Stokely and SPC Robert HopperEvening Battle Captain, First Lieutenant Tony Stokely, has sixteen years military experience, fourteen of those being enlisted. He has served in Macedonia, Bosnia, Iraq, and now Kuwait. Back home, Tony is a Conservation Officer with SDGF&P. When not out in the field, he spends his time with his wife Teri and three daughters, Tianna, Lani, and Austin, all presently residing in Clark, SD. Specialist Rob Hopper is the corresponding evening RTO and he enlisted in 2007 as a Bridge Crewmember (he is new to the Field Artillery). Rob, his wife Amber, and their son Bradyn will be relocating to Watertown, SD upon return home as he will be attending Lake Area Tech’s Diesel Tech Program. SSG Eric Lewis and SPC Robert RamburgThe midnight oil is typically burned by RTO, Specialist Bob Ramberg, and Battle Captain, Staff Sergeant Eric Lewis. Bob enlisted in 2002 with the Minnesota National Guard. This is his first tour overseas, and he is awaiting a Training Technician position with the Minnesota Guard when he gets home. He has one son, Jaxson, with his wife, Kelly…both presently in Canby, MN. Staff Sergeant Lewis has been enlisted for twelve years, eleven of those being Field Artillery. While he was mobilized previously, this is his first deployment and when at home he is the full-time Training NCO for HHB 1-147. Eric has two children, Landen, who was born while we were still in Texas, and McKenzie with his wife, Melinda. So there you have it! Now you know who we are, and hopefully have an idea of what we do. To all the family and friends back home that may be reading this, we all miss you very much and cannot wait to see you soon. And to all of our fellow 1-147 members reading this, it has been an honor to serve with each and every one of you. We are almost home, and with a little more time, energy, discipline, and teamwork we will all be stepping off that plane soon! Best wishes to you all…STEEL RAIN!

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