MACG-28 Marines step onto Afghan soil with eyes on Afghan skies

21 Mar 2011 | Lance Cpl. Samantha H. Arrington

Marine Air Control Group 28 has arrived in Afghanistan and is ready to provide command and control for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) and its coalition partners.

MACG-28 will operate as the communications median between the aviation and ground combat elements in the Regional Command Southwest area of operations.

“We have more than 400 Marines out here,” said Lt. Col.Thomas P. Bajus II, the detachment commander for MACG-28. “There are Marines in the tactical air command center, direct air support center, air traffic control, tactical air operation center, and conducting communications support.“

MACG-28, headquartered out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., is a compilation of multiple squadrons ranging in duties from tactical air control to communications. For the Afghanistan deployment, the group will serve under a single detachment commander.

Bajus explained that with the diversity of specialties in MACG-28, his Marines support 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) not only in Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion, but throughout the Regional Command Southwest’s area of operations. For this reason, Bajus said the group will be especially reliant on its noncommissioned officer’s leadership for success.

“With everyone spread out, small-unit leadership is crucial to our success,” said Bajus. “The NCO leadership really plays a strong role in what we do. We made sure we got the maximum out of our deployment training so we could come out to Afghanistan and be able to execute.”

Bajus said the group will separate the deployment into four phases. The first phase’s goal was a successful  turnover with MACG-38. With that completed, Bajus said his Marines are now moving on to phase two.

“The second goal is to sustain and master our procedures as we continue aviation command and control for 2nd MAW (Fwd.),” said Bajus. “For the third phase, we will look at our positions and evaluate how we are going to improve and make our procedures faster and more efficient.

“The final phase is once we know our improvements, capture those improvements and give a good turn-over back to MACG-38,” Bajus added.

While the group is deployed to Afghanistan its primary mission will be to control the skies and assets of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

“We have trained hard,” said Sgt. Maj Kenneth A. Lange, the sergeant major for MACG -28,.  “I have full trust and confidence in each and every one of them.”

Marines of MACG-28 said that even though the deployment will come with challenges, they too are confident of their abilities.

“I feel really good about this deployment, it’s an honor to be out here,” said Cpl. Cristy A. Rodriguez, the supply chief for MACG-28. “We are a part of something bigger, it is very humbling.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point