Marines make waves at RF-A 14-2
By Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 03, 2014
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Marines from Cherry Point, N.C. participated in a two and half week-long exercise here during RED FLAG-Alaska 14-2 where they learned skills and tactics used in deployed environments.
During RF-A 14-2, Marines from the Marine Air Control Squadron 2 and Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 arrived with many communication tools such as radios, radars and communications suites, to practice real-world scenarios for working hand-in-hand with pilots, fellow Command and Control agencies, and other personnel that they would support in combat.
"Our mission is to provide air surveillance, air control and information exchange in the form of Link-16 digital interoperability in support of a multinational exercise," said U.S. Marine Corps Marine Capt. Terrell Watts, Marine Air Control Squadron 2 Tactical Air Operations Center detachment commander assigned to Cherry Point, N.C. "We are operating the TAOC from Pole Hill in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which is equivalent to the United States Air Force Control and Reporting Center."
Training in the JPARC secluded the Marines from the base; however, communication allowed the Marines to work side-by-side with RF-A participants.
"RED FLAG-Alaska provides our air control agency with a live flight venue that has more aircraft flying during each event than we typically get during a U.S. Marine Corps exercise, the number of aircraft gives operators a better feel of what they can expect in a combat situation," said Watts. "This exercise also gives Marines an opportunity to work with the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts in order to develop inter-service communication skills that will allow us to function better as a team in combat."
Junior enlisted Marines applied their hands-on training and worked with other brothers and sisters-in-arms to gain the ultimate exercise experience.
"This exercise went flawlessly, our radar systems were up and operating this whole time," said Lance Cpl. Atley Kutlecinar, MACS-2 radar technician. "This is my first time actually moving anywhere with our 59 radar and to see the whole thing transfer and come together has been really interesting."
RF-A provides U.S. Marine Corps Air Defense Marines with an opportunity to perform their job during complex scenarios.
"Coming to Alaska gives us the ability to practice planning and the logistics of moving a detachment to an austere location and operate without the rest of the Marine Air Ground Task Force, said Watts. "It is a great opportunity for company grade offices and junior staff noncommissioned officers to develop their leadership skills and operational efficiency."
Although Marines from Cherry Point are not expected to return for the final two RED FLAGs this calendar year, future Alaskan exercises are on their radar.
"If funding is available, we hope to come back in the future because we can bring our equipment and operate as we would in a real-world scenario." said Watts. "In the case of this exercise, we have Marines from two squadrons being provided with excellent training, troubleshooting and development for 25 distinct U.S. Marine Corps Military Occupation Specialties."