Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort -- Marines with Marine Air Control Squadron 2 left Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort for Weapons and Tactics Instructor course, Sept. 19.
The WTI course is held bi-annually by Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and gives combat familiarity and proficiency to pilots, weapon system operators, ground combat and combat support service personnel.
During WTI, MACS-2 will support Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 by playing an early warning and control role.
“What that means is we’ll be a gap-filling radar, covering where central radar can’t due to terrain or other limiting factors,” said Lt. James Marley, the action officer for MACS-2 during the exercise from Pepperell, Mass.
The course is intended to train fixed wing and rotary wing pilots with classroom instruction and flight hours. The ground combat and combat support service troops provide realism, but also use the opportunity for realistic training.
“For our Marines, it’s a chance to go out to the field and practice using the equipment we use when deployed,” said Marley. “Everyone will get an ample opportunity to build proficiency.”
The course is six weeks long, with about three weeks of live fire training focusing on integrating aviation and a mobile ground force.
“I’m looking forward to getting into the system of the setting up and tearing down, finding the fastest ways to do it and the convoy style of movement,” said Cpl. Dustin Hunter-Hanes, a tactical air operations and air defense technician from Wilmington, N.C. “I’m excited, I’m really enthused.”
Hunter-Hanes said their role in the WTI course will be more maneuverable than it has in past WTI courses.
“This is different from what we normally do, because we’re making it more mobile,” he said. “With this one, we’ll be doing multiple setups, and there’s a large group of guys who have never done this before.”
In addition to the proficiency and tactics training, participating in WTI will help the Marines work together more efficiently.
“We already have a tight group here, but training in the field together will help build that camaraderie,” said Marley.
The mission of Marine Air Control Squadron 2 is to detect, identify and control the intercept of hostile aircraft and missiles and to provide continuous all- weather, radar, non-radar approach, departure, en route and tower air traffic control services to friendly aircraft.