Training squadron on deck for Marine Division Tactics Course

22 Jun 2012 | Lance Cpl. John Wilkes

Marine Fighter Train­ing Squadron 401 will be aboard the Air Station for approximately three weeks in support of Ma­rine Aircraft Group 31 and Marine Aviation and Weap­ons Tactics Squadron 1.

The squadron provides air-to-air combat instruc­tion to Fleet Marine Forces and squadrons by replicat­ing enemy aircraft tactics, said Maj. Eddie Jessen, VMFT-401 detachment officer-in-charge. It is the only adversary squadron in the Marine Corps.

“VMFT-401 comes to the Air Station a minimum of twice a year from Yuma, Ariz., in support of MAG- 31, however the main focus of this detachment is to support the Marine Division Tactics Course held by MAWTS-1,” said Jessen.

MDTC is a graduate level course that provides F/A-18 Hornet aircrew and Marine air intercept controllers with ground and airborne instruction in doctrine, tactics and weapons considerations for the successful use of Marine fighter attack air­craft in combat.

Marine Fighter Train­ing Squadron 401’s air crew will support approxi­mately three missions per day. Two will be for the MDTC and one in support of MAG-31.

The squadron utilizes the F-5N Tiger II aircraft. The small, maneuverable aircraft presents a unique challenge for the bulkier F/A-18 Hornet during combat simulations.

The aircraft are painted to resemble Cold War- Era Soviet aircraft including the prominently displayed red star on the vertical staff. Eleven of the squad­ron’s 12 aircraft are cur­rently aboard the Air Sta­tion.

“We always look for­ward to coming here,” said Jessen. “This is our job and we love what we do.”

401 , MDTC