U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND -- The Marines and sailors of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task - Crisis Response - Central Command provide unique capabilities to support the wide range of missions and responsibilities associated with operations in U.S. Central Command.
Of these capabilities, the command's Law Enforcement Detachment operates one of the region's primary Exploitation Analysis Centers.
Marine Cpl. Blake A. Wintch with the Exploitation Analysis Center, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command, organizes exploded ordinance Dec. 28, 2014. The center processes thousands of pieces from a variety of devices, adding another facet to the many capabilities of the SPMAGTF. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tony Simmons)
“An EAC is a field-expedient, forward-deployable forensics lab,” said Gunnery Sgt. Joshua Hairston, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, LED, SPMAGTF-CR-CC. “It's modelled off of the Special Operations Command's forensic concept. Ours is actually called the EAC Lite; everything in this lab will fit in a [quadruple container] and can be deployed forward or broken down into scalable pieces.”
The Marines employing the EAC participated in a month-long training course prior to the unit's deployment to ensure their work met the qualifications needed to serve as a qualified exploitation site.
This coursework helped the Marines prepare for the variety of techniques and material encountered by a functioning lab.
“Initially when we set the lab up we were waiting for business and materials to show up,” said Hairston. “And the word got out through SOCOM, specifically [Special Operations Command Central], that we had a lab here and there was a lack of exploitation capability in theater. So they tapped into us and they started sending us materials almost immediately. To date, it's been going on two to two and a half months now, we've been receiving materials pretty steadily. Almost every day or every other day.”
As Operation Inherent Resolve continues to assist Iraqi Security Forces degrade and defeat Daesh, items left behind offer valuable glimpses into the tactics, techniques and procedures used by the extremist organization.
“As a whole, we attack the network and the people running it,” said Lance Cpl. Logan Denhoff, military police, LED, SPMAGTF-CR-CC. “We can figure out what people are behind this; who is responsible for it. Maybe we can get a whole chain of IED labs.”
Along with exploiting discarded or forgotten information sources, the LED examines ordnance and unexploded Improvised Explosive Devices in close coordination with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines. The two sources of expertise make the analysis more effective, which further assists forces combatting Daesh.
“[Military forces] forward [indirect fire] fragments to us,” said Dehnhoff. “We take a picture of all of the rocket fragments we've gotten and have EOD figure out what kind of rocket it was. Also, trace explosives on something that's been blown up, we can figure out what they've used for the [homemade explosive]. It helps us figure out what the bad guys are using”
The theme of cooperation and utilizing outside expertise extends beyond analysis though; for without the capabilities of the MAGTF, the whole process of exploitation could not occur.
“It's a big team effort,” said Hairston. “It's not just us in this lab, but it's a MAGTF as a whole working together; we're this small piece of the puzzle that we call the MAGTF.”
The Marines and sailors of SPMAGTF-CR-CC serve as an expeditionary, crisis-response force tasked with supporting operations, contingencies and security cooperation in Marine Corps Forces Central Command and CENTCOM.
By U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Matthew Finnerty
Provided through DVIDS
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