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Maj. Gen. Lewis A. Craparotta, Combat Center Commanding General, congratulates a graduate during the graduation ceremony for Tactical Marine Air Ground Task Force Integration Course 1-16 aboard the Combat Center May 6, 2016. (Official Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz/Released)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz

MCTOG graduates TMIC 1-16

19 May 2016 | Lance Cpl. Levi Schultz Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group held a graduation ceremony for Tactical Marine Air Ground Task Force Integration Course 1-16 aboard the Combat Center May 6, 2016.

The 8-week advanced planning course gathers operations and intelligence officers and chiefs from across the Marine Corps into a practical training environment at MCTOG.

“When the Marines return to their units upon graduation, they will take with them an elevated understanding of all the different elements of an operation,” said Lt. Col. Dave O’Brien, course chief, MCTOG. “They’ll have the benefit of some intense practical application in everything from unit readiness planning to offense, defense and stability operations.”

According to O’Brien, TMIC has been around since 2008 and has been advancing and evolving ever since.

“Before TMIC, being an operations or intelligence officer or chief was a learn by doing job,” O’Brien said. “This course gives Marines the opportunity to train and learn before entering a real setting.”

The course challenged both operations and intelligence Marines by requiring them to work together in small teams similar to the setting of their units.

“The most important thing I learned from this course is the right way to conduct planning,” said Capt. Brendan R. Neagle, operations officer, 2nd Marine Regiment. “It’s a collaborative process and must be truly integrated across all the war fighting functions for the plan to be effective. Being able to do that well is a difficult process and requires different members of the staff to speak the same language.”

During the course, 2nd Marine Regiment acted as the training support regiment, serving as the higher headquarters for training operations. This created a realistic setting for the students to apply the curriculum learned throughout the course.

Gunnery Sgt. Fernando A. Brea, intelligence chief, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, agreed with Neagle and went on to explain the importance of operations and intelligence Marines being on the same page.

“I consider [graduates of the course] force multipliers,” Brea said. “The graduates return to their units and are automatically ready to implement change for the better. The [operation] chiefs and officers are going to know the best way to conduct training and plan for operations. From the intelligence perspective, it definitely helps us to plug and play into what they are thinking.”

In addition to augmenting their units with their newfound knowledge, the Marines are qualified as instructors, enabling them to share what they learned with the Marines they lead.

“I think once we leave here, if we don’t go back and teach our young Marines the concepts we learned here, we are wasting time,” Brea said. “If they are exposed to what we’ve learned at an earlier point in their careers, by the time they get to our ranks they will be better equipped to lead others.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms