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Fires Team brings coalition together for Operation Inherent Resolve

By Sgt. Anna Pongo CJTFOIR

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The Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command's Fires Team continues to make an impact in Mosul from their office in Baghdad, Iraq. Their successes are the latest example supporting the global, unified effort of the multi-national Coalition working to defeat ISIL.
The Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command's Fires Team in Baghdad, Iraq on 30 Nov, 2016. The team works constantly to degrade ISIL across Iraq through lethal targeting to support the ISF maneuver plan through strikes. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Sgt. Anna Pongo)
The Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command's Fires Team in Baghdad, Iraq on 30 Nov, 2016. The team works constantly to degrade ISIL across Iraq through lethal targeting to support the ISF maneuver plan through strikes. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Sgt. Anna Pongo)
The Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command's Fires Team in Baghdad, Iraq on 30 Nov, 2016. The team works constantly to degrade ISIL across Iraq through lethal targeting to support the ISF maneuver plan through strikes. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Sgt. Anna Pongo) Fires Team brings coalition together for Operation Inherent Resolve
The Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command's Fires Team in Baghdad, Iraq on 30 Nov, 2016. The team works constantly to degrade ISIL across Iraq through lethal targeting to support the ISF maneuver plan through strikes. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Sgt. Anna Pongo)


"Our mission is to go about degrading ISIL across Iraq through lethal targeting in order to support the ISF maneuver plan," said British army Maj. Jamie Linsdell, targeting officer, CJFLCC-OIR.

The Fires Team brings American, British and Australian militaries together as part of one team working together towards the common goal of defeating ISIL. 

"Having multiple Coalition partners in this cell is a good thing," said Australian Capt. Brett Watson, targeting officer, CJFLCC-OIR. "We bring a range of experience and knowledge. Everybody brings something different to the team, but as a collective." 

Watson has only been with the team a week, and he appreciates this diversity and the support he experiences. 

"This (work environment) in particular is very positive, said Watson. "We're working towards a common goal." 

This shared goal unifies a unique multi-national working environment and brings together different personalities and different senses of humor from around the world which lend themselves to the complex and fun environment, said Linsdell. 

"Working in a coalition is very interesting," said Linsdell. "It does come with some extra complexity, but people who are coming along and joining in have all sorts of backgrounds and training levels." 

Each member of the team contributes in the complicated process of conducting strikes. U.S. Army Capt. Alexander Pagliughi, current ops, CJFLCC-OIR, briefly explained the targeting process.

"The Fires Team works together to get intelligence from the intelligence team on a possible target," said Pagliughi, a Vineland, New Jersey native.

The team then works to build an target packet to clearly identify that this is a valuable military target to strike. Then, if it meets all the requirements for a target, it will be briefed to Maj. Gen. Joseph Martin, commanding general, CJFLCC-OIR, 1st Infantry Division. This multi-level approval system helps ensure there are no civilian casualties. 
Coalition aircraft destroy a Da'esh-held building during a strike near Mosul, Iraq on 18 Jan. This strike was just a small part of the impact that the Targeting Team makes in order to support the ISF maneuver plan. (Photo Credit: (Courtesy photo))
Coalition aircraft destroy a Da'esh-held building during a strike near Mosul, Iraq on 18 Jan. This strike was just a small part of the impact that the Targeting Team makes in order to support the ISF maneuver plan. (Photo Credit: (Courtesy photo))
Coalition aircraft destroy a Da'esh-held building during a strike near Mosul, Iraq on 18 Jan. This strike was just a small part of the impact that the Targeting Team makes in order to support the ISF maneuver plan. (Photo Credit: (Courtesy photo)) Fires Team brings coalition together for Operation Inherent Resolve
Coalition aircraft destroy a Da'esh-held building during a strike near Mosul, Iraq on 18 Jan. This strike was just a small part of the impact that the Targeting Team makes in order to support the ISF maneuver plan. (Photo Credit: (Courtesy photo))


Linsdell is one member of the team who has the job of briefing these targets to the commanding general prior to them getting approved for strike, he said. 

Martin looks at all the intelligence reporting that has been gathered with other supporting documents and determines if the target should be struck, said Pagliughi. 

The strike cells in Baghdad or Erbil are then notified and they get an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform such as an aircraft or drone, over the target to watch it for a while. 

"They make sure there are no civilians around and that they're not going to destroy anything they're not supposed to," said Pagliughi. 

A strike asset, artillery or aircraft, is then lined up and the strike is conducted.

Because of the coalition partnership, the team is able to work together to ensure this vital process is carried out. 

"(The team members) might have seen this type of fight or type of targeting before and have a different method of approaching it," said Pagliughi. "So you get to kind of see it from different angles and different points of view which can help solve a problem faster."