MASS-1 sharpens abilities, builds squadron readiness

26 Jan 2015 | Combat Logistics Company 21

Marines with Marine Air Support Squadron 1 conducted a direct air support center drill at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., Jan. 20-23.

DASC drills develop MASS-1’s ability to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing in austere environments.

According to Sgt. Neil Wright, an air support operator with MASS-1, DASC drills give Marines the opportunity to sharpen their skills by introducing hands-on training for skills they previously learned in the classroom.

“Our job is crucial to the Marine aircraft wing because we are the main line of communication between units on the ground and aircraft in the sky,” said Wright, a native of Atlanta. “Training exercises like these allow us to be more mission focused and improve our overall proficiency.”

According to Capt. Eric D’ambra, an air support control officer with MASS-1, DASC drills help MASS-1 Marines prioritize efforts to communicate more effectively. As a support squadron, MASS-1 serves as a vital link between the air and the ground during combat operations.  

 “This exercise allows us to replicate ground and air elements in order to prepare the Marines for scenarios they could encounter in an operational environment,” said D’ambra

During DASC drills, various scenarios with unpredictable outcomes help MASS-1 Marines react to evolving situations. It is designed to put pressure on the Marines and sharpen their skills, said D’ambra, a native of Pittsburgh.

 “Our job is to ensure we cover a large range of possible circumstances for the DASC,” said D’ambra. “This helps us identify how the Marines in the DASC react to expected and unexpected changes in operations.”

According to D’ambra, the squadron conducts a DASC drill once a month, which ensures the Marines remain proficient in their skills and maintain squadron readiness.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point