Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point -- Marines with Marine Air Support Squadron 1 are conducting a direct air-support center drill aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Dec. 16-20.
The purpose of DASC drills is to simulate missions Marines could face while deployed, said Sgt. Marissa Miller, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the drill for MASS-1.
“DASC drills prepare the Marines for what they will be facing in combat,” said Miller.
The Marines need to understand how critical it is to respond quickly and correctly to anything that fixed-wing or helicopter aircrews may need, said Miller.
Miller, who recently returned from Afghanistan, feels it is extremely important for the newer Marines in the DASC to understand the urgency of their mission.
“In a real life scenario, MASS-1 is in charge of any aircraft that come in their air space,” said Miller.
The Marines of MASS-1 command all military and civilian aircraft below 15,000 feet in their air space.
“The biggest mission in the DASC community, which is what MASS-1 supports as a whole, is medical evacuations for the Marines,” said Miller. “Whenever Marines are doing their mission outside the wire and one of them gets hurt, we are the first ones they call because we are the ones that are sending in aircraft to pick that Marine up.”
The biggest key to success for this job is knowledge, said Pfc. Sebastian Martinez, an air support operations operator for MASS-1.
“The more you understand about the aircraft and the equipment before you deploy, the easier it will be,” said Martinez.
Martinez applied his training and experience from previous DASC drills in support of combat operations in Afghanistan and feels this training makes MASS-1 more mission capable.
“The tempo that we practice the DASC drills back home are a faster speed than we actually experience while deployed,” said Martinez. “These drills really set us up for success.”