MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Marines with 1st Brigade, 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, conducted a joint tactical air control training exercise with Marines from the School of Infantry Advanced Training Battalion, Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115, and Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Aug. 12, 2015.
This was the second day of the exercise for ANGLICO Marines to gain the experience of controlling close air support and also for SOI Marines to provide mortar fire in support of ANGLICO.
The exercise involved patrolling and establishing observation posts in order to locate and coordinate fires, and ultimately achieve the ground commander’s intent.
In addition to providing live-fire support, Marines with 2nd ANGLICO were able to provide virtual support with the supporting arms virtual trainer. This system allows them to have a 180 degree “video game,” enabling them to execute close air support on demand in a virtual environment with simulated assets.
2nd ANGLICO Marines conduct exercises involving CAS at least once a month.
“The more time you can plan ahead, the more successful the exercise will be,” said Capt. Christopher Melling, an air officer with 2nd ANGLICO.
The Marine pilots who provide the air support are expected to check in ready and available to follow instructions as fast as possible. If they are unsure of what the controller wants them to execute, however, asking questions is always the answer, Melling said.
“It is a team effort to tell the aircraft where the target is and to allow them to attack it in a timely fashion,” Melling said.
The air officers provide the ground commanders with extensive aviation knowledge and experience which ground commanders can draw from in order to plan and execute necessary missions and operations.
Melling brings almost eight years of aviation experience to the table, four of which have been in the fleet. Most importantly, he has a basic understanding of company level infantry planning and execution as a Marine Corps officer.
ANGLICO, whose primary mission is to provide direct support to various Joint, Allied, Coalition and Special Operations forces, is often called upon to support other military branches and allied forces, Melling said. Other services will only provide joint tactical air control and won’t go on patrols, but ANGLICO continues to maintain their infantry skills that allow them to go anywhere the unit they are attaching to goes and become a part of the operation in its entirety.
“ANGLICO is not the only unit that works with foreign forces. What a Marine Corps unit like us has is credibility as a ground unit, because of the way we train and operate,” Melling said.
ANGLICO will continue to provide ground support along with joint tactical air control which has given them such a great reputation around the globe.