MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
The 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s recent large force exercise, Exercise MAILED FIST 1-11, breathed life into a brand new tool that leaders say will redefine the way 2nd MAW conducts training and local operations.
The Wing Operations Center, a windowless room with rows of work stations, a panel of large, wall-mounted monitors and, sometimes, an air of excited anticipation, offers a command and control nucleus for Wing activity during major operational events.
From the WOC, dozens of attentive Marines monitor occasionally hectic and elaborate missions and training events, keeping a close eye on everything from radar and weather patterns to video feeds and maps. The WOC puts Marines from all elements of an operation together in one room.
“It’s a place where we can move the chess pieces across the operational spectrum,” said Lt. Col. Martin J. Forrest IV, the current operations officer for 2nd MAW.
Forrest clearly sees the opportunities provided by the WOC.
“It will allow us to train and execute large-force exercises much more realistically,” he said. Lt. Col. Matthew R. McGath, who served as the senior watch officer for the WOC during MAILED FIST, said that several times during the exercise, the existence of the WOC offered unique perspective or training opportunities that otherwise would have been lost.
“The WOC allows coordination. It’s a big situational awareness tool and the wing’s current operations will really use it more often,” McGath said.
Forrest said having the WOC available for training exercises allows officers to learn how a command and control environment operates.
“For many of the young officers here, this is their first exposure to a tactical air command center,” said Forrest. “This place will increase their confidence and understanding while allowing them to gel as a team and learn to execute command and control.”