MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Marines and sailors of 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in a close air support exercise at range Golf-10 Sept. 11
Captain Nathan Shively, air officer, 2nd ANGLICO, said the exercise helped meet semi-annual training requirements for the Joint Terminal Attack Controllers of 2nd ANGLICO.
“Our Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) are required to have these controls to meet training and readiness requirements as well as maintain expeditionary readiness and force proficiency,” said Shively.
These controls are comprised of close air support missions, which require JTACs to coordinate and control the attack of both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft in support of a ground commander’s objectives.
“It’s required we provide three fixed-wing controls every six months for each of our JTACs,” said Shively. With 38 JTACs in 2nd ANGLICO, 228 fixed-wing controls are required per year to maintain qualifications.
Shively said Marine Corps aviation has not been able to provide all the resources and available aircraft to meet annual training requirements due to their own training requirements and deployment rotations. 2nd ANGLICO is working with U.S. based Air Force and Navy fighter squadrons in order to meet these requirements.
“We are currently working with the 333rd Fighter Squadron, an F-15 training squadron based out of Seymour Johnson,” said Shively.
Marines with 2nd ANGLICO constructed simulated bunkers, a week prior to the exercise. The targets were airlifted by Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464 from Landing Zone Tern to range Golf-10. The bunker consisted of three large metallic crates spaced 50 feet apart in a triangle.
“Operational success is the successful drop of a GBU-24 (Guided Bomb Unit 24) on target,” said Shively.
During the exercise, members of 2nd ANGLICO set up their communications and established an observation center at the tower, overlooking the range.
From the top of the tower the Marines and sailors of 2nd ANGLICO safely observed the target bunker. They issued commands and maintained constant communications with the pilots of the 333rd Fighter Squadron.
The tower was notified 45 seconds out when it was time to drop munitions. From there it was a short wait for impact.
The 2000 pound, inert, laser guided munition landed on target, marking mission success for the exercise.
“JTACS are a ground commander's lifeline when it comes to the execution of close air support missions,” said Shivley. “JTACs are trained to utilize CAS aircraft so as to minimize the risk of fratricide while meeting the ground commander's objectives,” he explained.
The exercises provide JTACs with an opportunity to train in a simulated deployed environment, while safely employing tactics and weapon systems that would wreak havoc on our nation’s enemies.
“In order to keep our JTACs current and proficient we require a lot of controls, which we get through exercises like the one at Golf-10,” said Shivley. “The bottom line is to deploy the best trained JTACs possible in support of our joint and coalition partners.”