MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Marines from multiple Cherry Point squadrons collaborated in an effort to practice aspects of air command and control and air defense in eastern North Carolina, Feb. 1-11.
According to Lt. Col. Matthew C. Culbertson, operations officer for Marine Air Control Group 28, the Marine air command and control systems integrated site training exercise was held at three different sites throughout the state, Cherry Point, Marine Corps Outlying Landing Field Oak Grove and Davis Airfield, south of Jacksonville, N.C.
During the exercise, MACG-28 Marines executed missions with air and ground support from the subordinate squadrons.
Culbertson said the purpose of the training evolution was to prepare the Marines of MACG-28 for an upcoming deployment in 2011.
“The focus was on an Afghanistan scenario in support of Operation Enduring Freedom,” Culbertson said about the exercise. “While we still have a significant Marine air command and control systems detachment deployed to Afghanistan for a few more months, the vast majority of our training this year is building toward our anticipated Operation Enduring Freedom deployment in 2011.”
According to Cpl. Lashawn M. Jasper, an embark noncommissioned officer with MACG-28, the exercise was also held to familiarize Marines with systems used in combat.
“We use the blue force tracker system to locate military vehicles on the ground and see their position on our computer screen,” Jasper said. “It is really a bona fide global positioning tracker.”
Along with the ability to see where convoys are via map, Jasper added they have the ability to communicate with the troops on the ground by text on a computer screen.
“This is the same system we are using in deployment,” Jasper also said.
According to Culbertson, some of the other equipment utilized in the training included mobile, extended-rigid wall shelters for the tactical air command center, the tactical air operations module for the tactical air operations center, and numerous tactical communications systems, networks, which provide communications including video, multimedia, data and imagery.
“The idea is to keep the training as realistic as possible and ensure that our Marines are familiar with the expeditionary equipment that they use in combat,” Culbertson said.
Culbertson added that the Marines completed the missions successfully, and the training exercise will help give them an idea of what will happen during their deployment.
“This was a successful evolution because our Marines were simulating their duties in combat and beginning to familiarize or re-familiarize themselves with the Afghanistan theater of operations,” Culbertson said.