15th MEU News
Photo Information

Service members in Fire Control Team 32, Command Element, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, play cards aboard the USS Rushmore, Aug. 21. The team bridges the gap between Marine infantry on the ground and fire-support from air, land and sea.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers

Marine ensures team members are ready for any mission

24 Aug 2012 | Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

USS RUSHMORE, At Sea — When Marines are downrange and need fire-support from aircraft, artillery, mortarmen or navy vessels, a small Fire Control Team holds the responsibility to call for indirect fire without endangering the Marines forward engaged. The team chief ensures that each man under his charge is ready when the time comes.

Sergeant Jordan M. Kelly is the team chief of Fire Control Team 32, Command Element, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. His team of five service members bridges the gap between Marine infantry on the ground and fire-support from air, land and sea. Kelly takes it upon himself to ensure his two Marines and one corpsman are prepared for anything.

“I make sure they are prepared, ensure they have the right classes, information, supplies and gear in order for us to be successful on a mission,” said Kelly. “It’s important that every member learns each other’s jobs in case one of us goes down. That’s one of our main focuses as a unit.”

Their FCT is made up of a team leader, team chief, a joint forward observer, a radio operator and a corpsman. Most of the team is capable of performing one another’s responsibilities and continuing the mission in case a member becomes incapable.

Kelly also supports his team members to better themselves outside of their job specialties. He and his team conduct physical training every morning to prepare themselves for any challenge. He encourages them to better themselves mentally by reading books and completing Marine Corps Institute courses, making them more knowledgeable leaders.

“My team motivates me. Seeing my team put what they learned in garrison and apply it in the field, gets me up in the morning,” added Kelly, the 25 year-old Mexico, Mo., native.
Taking care of his Marines is a number one priority for Kelly. He said he would always put his team before himself and the mission ahead of everything.

“He’s a good leader,” said Cpl. Robert T. Ruiz, a joint forward observer in the team. “He takes care of us and makes sure we have everything we need to be mission ready,” added the 24 year-old Chino Hills, Calif., native.

Having such a small team, the service members find the need to build camaraderie between one another. They support a heavy responsibility and need to be able to rely on their team members when the time comes.

“It’s a tighter brotherhood between us because it’s just our team out there, usually alone,” said Lance Cpl. James T. Hastings, the scout observer of the team. “It’s a simple fact that our small team has a big impact [in the battlespace]. It can be stressful because we not only have to look out for our backs, but also for the Marines ahead of us. That’s why it is so important we are ready physically and mentally for anything,” added the 21 year-old Troy, Mo., native.

15th Marine Expeditionary Unit