MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Several Marine Aircraft Group 14 squadrons participated in exercise Razor Talon Friday, an Air Force led joint-exercise at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C.
The quarterly exercise simulates a mock conflict involving numerous aircraft from Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force attack and training squadrons from across the Eastern Seaboard. MAG-14 provided support with AV-8B Harriers and EA-6B Prowlers for the exercise.
“This is a unique opportunity for us to train in a major theater-war conflict mindset with dozens of aircraft airborne at one time,” said Maj. Ryan Ward, the officer in charge of Cherry Point’s Marine Aviation Training System Site. “At the same time, this is very difficult to simulate and perform airborne because this takes weeks of planning and coordination to do.”
Prior to the exercise, all participating MAG-14 units met to plan and brief all pilots and instructors involved in the exercise.
“Instead of each individual unit planning in their own spaces, we bring them all in to plan together,” he said. “We fight as a unit. If you haven’t planned or practiced, it then becomes a very difficult function.”
Maj. William Steinke, the assistant operations officer with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Aviation Training System, participated in the exercise as an EA-6B Prowler flight leadership instructor.
“One section of the Prowlers mission was to evaluate the others,” said Steinke. “This exercise was mostly to train the younger aircrew.”
Razor Talon helps pilots and aircrew train for possible real-world operations, focusing on aerial offense, counter-aerial offense and armed reconnaissance in a joint service environment, Steinke said.
“This is basically the single biggest thing that is available for us to train in,” he said. “If it wasn’t for this kind of training with the other services, we would have to go to Alaska.”
Joint-service exercises expand Marine aircraft squadron’s ability to support a variety of possible real-world scenarios, according to Ward.
“We have limited opportunities to train with other services,” said Ward. “They each present their own challenges and benefits you can’t simulate on your own, so this is great.”