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    Saylor Creek Hosts Marine JTAC Certification

    Joint CAS Fundamentals

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Joseph Morgan | Marines with the 1st Marine Division out of Camp Pendleton, California practice close...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Joseph Morgan 

    Idaho Army National Guard

    BOISE, Idaho – Positioned approximately 300 yards south of a shipping container village in southern Idaho, a heavily-armed Marine platoon, along with forward observers, joint terminal attack controllers and instructors prepared their siege.

    “Once we’ve utilized the JTACs and the aircraft overhead to get accurate rounds down range, we’re going to be taking certain elements of the town,” said Lance Corp. Justice Johnson, the exercise squad leader. “We don’t have a big enough force to occupy the town, so we’re going to push in, get a foothold and then execute fire on the next set of towers as we push forward.”

    For three weeks in April, U.S. Marines assigned to the 1st Marine Division from Camp Pendleton returned to the Orchard Combat Training Center and the Saylor Creek Air Force Range for Exercise Garnet Rattler 2023. This is the second consecutive year Idaho’s ranges have hosted Exercise Garnet Rattler to certify Marine JTACS.

    Structurally, forward observers, embedded with infantry units, relay battlefield information to JTACs who then coordinate targeted strikes through air support. Having JTAC certified personnel in-house expedites a unit's ability to get air support down range.

    “The whole point of the training is to integrate the JTACs with an infantry rifle squadron,” said Johnson. “We paint targets and see what they do in response, and we collectively experience what it’s like to work with them in the field.”

    Located 26 miles southeast of Mountain Home Air Force Base, operated by the 266th Range Squadron, the SCAFR provides 10,000 square miles of live-fire training space for joint aviation and ground combat exercises.

    “We’ve been practicing close air support fundamentals with as much realism as we can muster with both ground and aviation combat elements,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Haack, a JTAC program manager who helped coordinate Garnet Rattler 2022 and 2023. “Saylor Creek better-lends itself towards realism as we operate with live-fire, in close proximity to air support. And it’s an inert range, so you don’t have to worry about things going bang as you move through this space.”

    Air support during the joint exercise consisted of A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the Idaho Air National Guard’s 124th Fighter Wing; F-15 Strike Eagles from the United States Air Force’s 366th Fighter Wing; and UH-1Y Super Hueys and AH-1 Cobras from the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 in Oceanside, California.

    The Marines utilized parts of the OCTC’s 171,000 acres to conduct demolition and land navigation training. In addition to the complex's capacity to facilitate dynamic, large-scale, multi-element exercises, it also provides the accommodations required to fully support up to 880 service members.

    “This is a world-class range that is run very well,” said Haack. “The units here in Idaho, along with the range, OCTC, and Mountain Home communities have taken care of us every time we’ve come up here. If we find ourselves in a jam, or need something or don’t know this procedure or that procedure, we get nothing but help here.”



    Date Taken: 05.03.2023
    Date Posted: 05.03.2023 17:02
    Story ID: 443979
    Location: ID, US

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