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MASS-1 Battle Lab abilities tested during DASC/ TACC drill 3-16

By Pfc. Nicholas P. Baird | Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point | February 26, 2016

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Marine Air Support Squadron 1 and Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 28 put the new, state-of-the-art MASS-1 Battle Lab to the test by conducting the Direct Air Support Center and Tactical Air Command Center Drill 3-16 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Feb. 16-19.

MASS-1 conducts DASC drills frequently as a way to maximize ability to deploy and employability within the Marine Air Command and Control System.

During the drill, Marines assessed and shaped MASS-1’s Battle Lab application as continuity of operations for the Wing Operations Center.

“Prior to the completion of MASS-1’s Battle Lab, DASC training was dependent on the use of equipment from various tactical systems subject to the demands of operational tasking,” said Master Sgt. Clifford H. Bowen, the operations chief with MASS-1.  “The Battle Lab provides us with a persistent Marine Air Command and Control System training venue with the capability to incorporate advanced C4I [Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Information] systems.”

In conjunction with the DASC, Air Support Elements and Air Support Liaison Teams operate together to maximize mission capabilities by performing air support control functions and maintaining face-to-face coordination between the DASC and supporting arms.

“The MASS-1 Battle Lab is capable of providing a dedicated, continuous training system for MASS-1 and MACG-28 that will enable integration between fellow MACCS agencies,” said 1stLt. Chris K. Hemler, an air support control officer with MASS-1, and DASC/TACC Drill 3-16 officer in charge.  “This will allow for decreased maintenance demands, consistent training opportunities, and increased readiness for individual Marines and crews.”

The role of the DASC includes processing immediate air support requests, integrating aircraft with other supporting arms, managing terminal control assets, and procedurally controlling aircraft within its assigned areas.

 “A simulated drill is an exceptional training platform for our Marines in MASS-1, as well as MACG-28,” said Hemler. “These drills allow us to frame the operational scenario according to our training audience and commander’s end state. Whether we’re training a junior crew fresh out of their military occupational specialty school, or a seasoned team preparing for qualifications and deployments, a simulated drill allows us to minimize the impact on our equipment and maximize the training value and subsequent readiness of our Marines and units.”

According to Capt. Waylon Buchan, the air support commander with MASS-1, the DASC/TACC Drill 3-16 allowed for significant portions of the MACCS to train in an integrated fashion while simulating the participation of the rest of the MACCS.

“The MACG fights as an integrated system and it is important that we train together to become familiar with each agency's higher, adjacent, and subordinate requirements,” said Buchan. “The DASC/TACC Drill was a pivotal training evolution that provided high tempo WTI-specific simulations, which greatly enhanced unit preparations for the DASC and TACC leading up to the Spring WTI.  Additionally, the exercise established the baseline for future integrated MACCS training evolutions in the MASS-1 Battle Lab.”

According to Bowen, the MASS-1 DASC is their weapon system. The facility allows the Marines to train using the weapon system in a way that exceeds the squadron’s past training capabilities.

“DASC/TACC Drill 3-16 marks the first exercise in which MASS-1 is employing its Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S) Phase I within the MASS-1 Battle Lab,” said MSgt Bowen. “Additionally, the squadron is training to their ability to conduct echelon operations by conducting a transition from the garrison Battle Lab to a tactical DASC site in order to continue to meet the expeditionary demands of the DASC mission.”


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