Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. -- Hours spent in humid air while mosquitoes feast can be a damper to some, but others find entertainment when and where they can. Marines with 2nd Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, fell into the latter category while out at an ordinance range on Piney Island, N.C., Sept. 22, 2010.
In between talking on the radio with circling aircraft and hovering attack helicopters, the Marines with 2nd ANGLICO made the best of their situation, by joking and laughing when their simulated airstrikes went well or when a gun run looked particularly cool. After a long night, the Marines retired to get a little sleep before starting another exercise a few hours later that involved coordinating a supply drop from a Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft.
The training event, which spanned from Sept. 21-23, focused on reinforcing key skills that are integral to 2nd ANGLICO’s primary mission, which is to coordinate air support and indirect fire. Additionally, it allowed the Marines to hone their secondary skills, such as coordinating aerial supply drops and casualty evacuations which will become critical during their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
“ANGLICO is primarily a kinetic enabler providing fire support in all capacities,” said Capt. Ramon Pattugalan, a fire-power control team leader with 2nd ANGLICO. “The flip side is that we need to be able to supply non-kinetic support such as air resupply, transportation and casualty evacuation. As we push into theater, we’re looking to reduce the need for ground convoys as often as possible.”
During the first portion of the training, joint terminal attack controllers and forward observers directed fixed and rotary wing aircraft during simulated air strikes. They drafted up scenarios ranging from a rapid withdrawal under enemy fire to a coordinated offensive with friendly forces on the ground.
“What we try to strive for is scenario based training,” said Pattugalan. “The benefit is a two-way street. If we paint a picture of being in support of ground troops, the [pilots] get the training they need with calls they’ll receive in theater and so do we.”
In addition to gaining familiarity with the pilots and the types of aircraft that they will be working with during deployment, the training served to give the unit’s junior Marines time on the radio, coordinating strikes and calling for resupply.
“[This training] gives Marines a visual of what’s going on and allows them to see and hear the aircraft and the pilot,” said Sgt. Jamie Lantgen, a fire power control team chief, with 2nd ANGLICO. “We train our junior guys on everything from casualty evacuations, to landing zone briefs, to supply drops. Every private first class or above can do that. They have huge responsibilities. They’re stacked pretty heavy on what they need to know and what standards we hold them to.”
As the training drew to a close and the Marines prepared to finish out the work day after only a few hours of sleep in as many days, the outlook was optimistic.
“From a month-long mountain warfare training exercise, it’s been a very busy schedule, but the boys have done a very good job of meeting that standard,” said Pattugalan.