Marines train to apply intel to aviation ops

20 Feb 2013 | Lance Cpl. Cory D. Polom

More than 20 intelligence, meteorology and oceanography Marines within 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, 3rd MAW and 2nd Intelligence Battalion began a four-week Squadron Intelligence Training and Certification Course aboard Cherry Point Feb. 11.

During the course the Marines will learn to make an immediate positive impact on their units and the 2nd MAW mission, said Master Gunnery Sgt. Stephen Sekela, the 2nd MAW intelligence chief.

“It doesn’t matter if this is a Marine’s first unit out of their military occupational specialty school or their first time serving with an aviation unit,” said Sekela. “The aviation community is much different from the ground side. If Marines have worked for 15 years on the ground side then come here, they will not know how to better provide the functions of Marine Corps intelligence to support aviation operations.”

Sekela said while the intelligence and METOC Marines learn to brief ground combat Marines in MOS school, their exposure to aviation intelligence and related requirements is limited. Before this course, Marines showed up to aviation units with minimal knowledge in applying intelligence to aviation operations and the unique information requirements of pilots and aircrews. This particular skill set can require up to two years to learn on the job.

“This course arms our basic intelligence and METOC Marines with the knowledge, skills and abilities required to effectively support the groups and squadrons,” said Col. James Parker, the assistant chief of staff and intelligence officer with 2nd MAW.

The intelligence and METOC Marines can apply the real-world scenarios they develop during the course to support training evolutions for pilots in their future units, said Parker.

During the SITC course, the students will train at the Marine Aviation Training Support Site, which uses simulators, allowing intelligence Marines to learn first hand from pilot instructors assigned there.

Other points of focus include understanding the intelligence and METOC support required by all 2nd MAW aircraft, and participating in a large force

exercise as Marine Aircraft Group 14 prepares for the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course later this year. During this exercise, the students will be required to give briefs in support of the mission planning, post-mission debriefs and generate intelligence reports.

“At the conclusion of this course, Marines return to their units with the training and readiness skills needed to provide the squadron with an instant asset,” said Parker. “Normally, this would require 20-24 months of on-the-job training. This course cuts that on-the-job training timeline down to four weeks. Further, it produces a more consistent quality capability across the entire MAW.”

The course will conclude March 8 with a graduation ceremony for the students.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point