2nd ANGLICO teams up with Air Force for exercise

21 Nov 2003 | Sgt. Christopher D. Reed

Newly reactivated 2nd Air and Naval Gunfire Liaison Company conducted an evaluation of approximately 30 Marines from 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit's Firepower Control Team at Atlantic Field Nov. 11-14.

The "training in progress" combined patrolling, close air support, and fire support coordination into a tactical scenario. This exercise marked the first time Air Force B-1 Bombers conducted a live training drop with Marines of 2nd ANGLICO, according to Lt. Col. John Owens, commanding officer. 

"We try to get our Marines to think in all dimensions," said Owens.  "We combine artillery, mortar arms, and aircraft from the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force."

Marines undergoing the rigorous training become more proficient in coordinating fire support of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft from different services.

According to Capt. Robert E. St. Peter, operations officer, 2nd ANGLICO, the detailed process begins with a pre-designated aircraft checking in with the supporting arms liaison team.  The SALT leader will then "push" the aircraft to the fire control team leader, who will then direct the aircraft to a standby location.  The pilot will then receive a fire mission in a standard format, which serves as the guideline for engaging the enemy target.

"The enemy target can either be marked with artillery, mortars, or laser," said St. Peter.  "If a laser is used to designate the target, a smart bomb will lock in on the laser, verify the code within the laser, and if the codes coincide the target will be engaged."

Although technology played a major role in the success of the exercise, the human element did not take a backseat.

"We have to ensure time on target is correct and make sure grid coordinates coincide (between ground forces and air)," said Cpl. Scott Pomager, scout observer, 2nd ANGLICO.  "We are constantly communicating back and forth.  It's a team effort."

A detachment of ANGLICO Marines routinely deploys with Marine expeditionary units.  The Marines evaluated in this exercise are a detachment assigned to 22nd MEU currently in preparation for a scheduled deployment.