MISSO team 'schools' administrative Marines
II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story by:Lance Cpl. Josh Cox

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(Dec. 5, 2005) -- In the last few decades, computer information technology has become an instrumental tool of war, and a critical addition to the mission of the Marine Corps.

The Marines of the Manpower Information Systems Support Office 11 are responsible for troubleshooting and instructing administrative Marines on the use of computer-based information systems, databases and other software utilized by Marines here.

“We are responsible for supporting class one administrative systems,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Terry L. Slater, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, MISSO-11, II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD). “Our support includes installing and troubleshooting software and providing classes and instruction. [Basically] we are here to support administrators in this country.”

The four MISSO-11 staff members based at Camp Fallujah travel throughout Iraq to train Marines on the use of the crucial software, said Slater.

The programs range from databases to record, and disbursing software and systems. These systems are constantly being upgraded as changes are made in the Corps, so the team is consistently training administrative sections how to operate the programs as they are created, modified or enhanced.

“We do a lot of hands-on training over here,” said Slater. “As new systems are brought on, we take on responsibility for training. The classes are given upon request. I would say we average two classes a week.”

Slater said the classes range from one-on-one instruction, to more than 20 students.

Since the training is hands-on, the instruction is extremely effective, she said.

“The one class they did at Al Taqaddum provided instruction for over 20 Marines during [the month of] October,” said Gunnery Sgt. Alexander Jones, administrative chief, Group Consolidated Administrative Center, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (FWD).

Jones said the classes conducted by the MISSO-11 are beneficial because the software and programs taught through the instruction helps administrators pass key information to other Marines.

The MISSO-11 is the only shop of its kind operating in Iraq, which can be a challenge for the team.

“Everywhere we have gone people have wanted or needed training,” said Slater.

Ensuring the whole area of responsibility is trained to use the systems and software isn’t the only test the MISSO-11 team faces.

Slater said coordinating travel and software updates can be challenging.

But, Slater attributes proper planning, staying up-to-date with new programs and keeping a list of contacts to the team’s success.

“For me personally, this has been a great tour because as a master gunnery sergeant in the rear, I’m pretty much confined to my desk. Out here, I’ve been able to do a lot of lance corporal things. I get to go out and install (software) and give classes.”

The team members, who are all individual augments from MISSO teams around the Corps, agreed travel is an added bonus that comes with the job.

“We get to travel a lot in the MISSO… I actually really enjoy that,” said Staff Sgt. Bridgette M. Wiltz, administrative/disbursing staff noncommissioned officer, MISSO-11, II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD).

Slater added the team is a close-knit group, and they participate in many functions together to stay motivated.

“We have a pretty close team,” said Slater. “We [physically train] together (and) we play spades, a lot of spades. We go to chow together; we do a lot together. All of our family and friends have been great about sending things…and everybody just shares everything.”

Utilizing unique Marines from different places, the MISSO-11 team stays sharp with the latest software and programs, and ensures computer information technology skills are taught to administrators in the area of responsibility.