MACS-2 monitors allied aircraft in Middle East

6 Jun 2003 | Cpl. Craig A. Sherman

During Operation Iraqi Freedom the Marines
of Marine Air Control Squadron 2 took a pivotal role in the safety of nearly every coalition pilot and aircraft.

While working with other countries, MACS-2
planned, supervised and participated in the rapid emplacement, installation and operation of the forward most ground-based air traffic control facility deployed to OIF, according to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Samuel Spencer, communication electronic officer, MACS-2.

?We re-deployed several times by tactical
motor vehicles and convoys totaling a  distance of 750 miles over three days,? Spencer said.

The convoys were long and hard, according to
Cpl. Stephen Albertson, tactical Data System
repairman, MACS-2. The roads were mostly
sand and we had a hard time getting from one
point to another. Many Marines from MACS-2
said they could not have accomplished the grueling convoys and marches without the support of their families and friends from home.

?It fills my heart with pride and joy to hear of all the support we have received during the whole operation,? said Staff Sgt. James Kozma, radar technician, MACS-2.

According to many Marines, they were looking
forward to their squadron being involved in the operation.

?To see the Iraqi people waving and giving us the thumbs up, made me feel good about what we did for their country,? Kozma said.

Seeing the people of Iraq saddened some service members when they saw what Saddam Hussein?s government had done to them. After the mission, the Marines felt like they made a difference in the world.

?When we first got to Iraq and saw the people I felt sorry for them,? said Sgt. Joshua DeBlois, utility chief, MACS-2. ?When we left they were happy. That made me feel good, because we gave them a better life.?

The Marines saw a lot of gruesome images, according to Deblois. However, seeing the faces of Iraqi civilians being free gave them a sense of confidence and joy.

?It?s amazing to see the faces of the Iraqi people now that they?ve been liberated,? said Cpl. Robert Lachance, air command and control operator, MACS-2. ?The impression I had before the war was that they hated us. Now, I realize how wrong I was. Thumbs up and waving hands were the reactions of all the Iraqi citizens.?