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Keeping a finger on the pulse of the Navy.

Behind the cipher-locked doors, deep within the Pentagon, Yeoman 3rd Class Lat'isha Barnes works in the Naval Operations Center (NOC). She works in an environment of computers and multiple plasma screens displaying colorful representations of maps, grids and area time codes that provide the Chief of Naval Operations with visual displays of information and intelligence. Looking like something out of a science fiction movie, the NOC employs more than 200 personnel, both officer and enlisted, who work around the clock, keeping their finger on the pulse of the Navy around the world.

The 30-year old Barnes is one of many who contribute to the mission at hand. With a friendly smile on her face and a sense of duty and pride in her assignment, she says, "this place is fast-paced and a challenge to work in, but most people here are what really make the assignment."

Inside the NOC, you'll find intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, cryptologists, electronic technicians and operations specialists among others. The red glow of digital clocks pierce the darkness, above 36-inch computer screens. Red telephones labeled "LANT" and "PAC" sit silently on desks, ready to provide a direct voice link for the personnel working their shift on the watch deck with shipmates on the other side of the planet.

The NOC is a direct line of communications that monitors ship and troop movements, as well as their operational status that's fed directly from commanders at sea or in the field. The teamwork and attention to detail of these quiet professionals who work behind the scene, ensure the flag staffs and joint chiefs have the information ready to make the crucial decisions when they need it.

Barnes is unique in that she is a Reservist from Navy/Marine Corps Reserve Center, Anacostia Annex, D.C., who volunteered to fill the vacancy as the flag writer for Director of Policy Plans and Operations. Her duties also support the Naval Attache Service.

"I was [an insurance] claims clerk for five years before enlisting. That qualified me to enter the Navy as a third class petty officer and I am enjoying the opportunity to work on this staff. This assignment is much more interesting than insurance claims.

Desmond is a photojournalist assigned to Commander, Navy Recruiting
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Title Annotation:24 seven: on duty on-the-hour every hour
Author:Desmond, Chris
Publication:All Hands
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:376
Previous Article:SOY 2003 Northern exposure.
Next Article:Eye on the fleet.

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