Soldiers, Airmen, Marines conduct close air support training

| November 6, 2015 | 0 Comments
 Staff Sgt. Cameron  Snowdon leads fellow scouts Sgt. Wilmer Bolivaragred and Pfc. Jai Kela to their objective, Oct.21, during a close air support training mission with the Air Force and Marine Corps. The Soldiers of HHC, 1-27th Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, trained with Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and Marine Corps pilots to become proficient in utilizing close air support.

Staff Sgt. Cameron Snowdon leads fellow scouts Sgt. Wilmer Bolivaragred and Pfc. Jai Kela to their objective, Oct.21, during a close air support training mission with the Air Force and Marine Corps. The Soldiers of HHC, 1-27th Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, trained with Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and Marine Corps pilots to become proficient in utilizing close air support.

Story and photos by Sgt. Ian Ives
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

BELLOWS AIR FORCE STATION — Units from 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, trained with assets of the 25th Air Support Operation Squadron (ASOS) and Marine Corps B-52 pilots on close air support missions, here, Oct. 21-23.

The training introduced joint terminal attack controllers (JTACs) from the Air Force and Marine bomber pilots with Army scout platoons from the 1st Battalion, 27th Inf. Regiment, 2nd SBCT, to become proficient in using fixed and rotary wing aircraft during combat missions.

“The integration starts with mission planning,” said Capt. Tim Murray, fire support element, 1-27th Inf. Regt. “The JTACs are with the scout platoons as they are briefed on the mission. From there, the Air Force will coordinate what assets are available and how best to deploy them.”

Murray ensured that the JTACs embedded in the scout platoons were being properly used to coordinate close air support operations. JTACs are specially-trained Airmen of the tactical air control party who communicate directly with in-air pilots to provide intelligence and joint combat support.

Sgt. Carlos Techera, HHC, 1-27th Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT,  25th ID, checks a courtyard during an urban operations mission, Oct. 21, with the Air Force and Marine Corps.

Sgt. Carlos Techera, HHC, 1-27th Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT, 25th ID, checks a courtyard during an urban operations mission, Oct. 21, with the Air Force and Marine Corps.

“At the end of the day, the Army uses joint forces in combat – that’s how we win,” said Murray. “We need to understand other services’ capabilities and how best to utilize them. It doesn’t do me any good if I don’t know how to use and request the close air support, which is why we are doing this joint training.”

Overseeing the Air Force side of the training was Lt. Col. James Ladd, director of operations, 25th ASOS. Ladd ensured that the JTACs were capable of effectively communicating with pilots providing close air support. He also simulated the duty of an Air Force pilot during training missions without the Marines.

Photos by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich Tech. Sgt. Derek Casavant and Airman Jeffrey Lake (left), joint tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron, conduct a JTAC evaluation using a laser target designator during a field training exercise on Bellows Air Force Station, Hawaii, Oct. 20, 2015. The task evaluation required Lake to set up the laser targeting designator properly in a short period of time. During the FTX, Lake will be evaluated on several different tasks related to his job as a JTAC. The FTX was a combined training opportunity for Airmen from the 25th ASOS and Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division to train together and interact as they would in a deployed location.

Photo by Tech. Sgt. Aaron Oelrich
Tech. Sgt. Derek Casavant and Airman Jeffrey Lake (left), joint tactical air controllers from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron, conduct a JTAC evaluation using a laser target designator, Oct. 20. The task evaluation required Lake to set up the laser targeting designator properly in a short period of time. During the exercise, Lake was evaluated on several different tasks related to his job as a JTAC. The FTX was a combined training opportunity for Airmen from the 25th ASOS and Soldiers from the 25th ID to train together and interact as they would in a deployed location.

“The 25th ASOS is a unit that specifically supports the 25th ID,” said Ladd. “If the 25th ID deploys, we deploy with them as support. This training is great because, should we be deployed and a situation calls for close air support, it will not be our first time working together. It is one thing to know that aircraft are in the sky, but it is most effective when those assets can be used properly to support the mission.”

The joint training is crucial knowledge for Soldiers and Airmen alike to have while in a deployed environment.151021-A-IV742-443

“We are getting a lot of junior Airmen … out there and learning how to perform their duties with actual gunfire and aircrafts,” said Ladd. “Having exercises like this, that simulate a real combat situation, will help them see through the so-called fog of war, so that when the time comes to operate while deployed, they will be able to execute it methodically and precisely.”

The multi-service training exercise built confidence in the participants, and the 2nd SBCT now has Soldiers who are more knowledgeable of their joint assets.

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Category: News, Training

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