CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines with 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company conducted simulated fire support training at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Feb. 13.
The training allows Marines to become more efficient at coordinating fire support for Marines flying aircraft and conducting missions on the ground.
That day, fire support men and radio operators trained specifically to support rotary and fixed-winged aircraft conducting close-air support in desert environments similar to those found in Afghanistan.
The mission of 1st ANGLICO is to provide Marine Air-Ground Task Force commanders a liaison capability with foreign area expertise to plan, coordinate, and conduct terminal control of fires in support of joint, allied, and coalition forces.
In order to accomplish their mission, Marines are required to maintain a significant understanding of land navigation, communications, radio operation, target designator equipment, ordnance and a variety of fundamental survival skills.
“We get attached to other units and provide fire support using artillery, air, naval gunfire, mortars, any form of indirect fire,” said Cpl. Ryan Hunter, fire support man with 1st ANGLICO.
Their training is applicable to any type of environment or situation that may require Marines to call for fire in any forward deployed environment, said Pfc. Benjamin Finch, fire support man with 1st ANGLICO.
“The JTAC has to finalize the attack and the observer is able to spot what is happening on the battlefield,” Finch said.
Simulated training also allows Marines to become more efficient at conducting operations from a location separate from joint terminal attack controllers. This allows 1st ANGLICO to deploy its Marines in small groups, but requires Marines to harness effective radio and communication skills.
“We work in tight-knit teams,” Hunter said. “The radio operators are important. They provide us with means to communicate with the firing agencies or the pilots.”
Though each member of the team has a specific job, working in such tight-knit groups affords Marines the opportunity to cross-train. It’s not only an opportunity, but necessity, Hunter said.
“We’re supposed to be general experts for just about anything involving call-for-fire, close-air support or sending out medevac,” Hunter said. “I think it’s one of the most important jobs because I think indirect fire can be responsible for turning the tide of war.”
After having returned from a recent deployment to Afghanistan, the Marines of 1st ANGLICO continue to prepare for future missions.