Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. --
Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Dec. 1 to support Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 in air-to-air training from Dec. 2-Dec. 11.
The “Snipers” of VMFT-401are the only adversary squadron in the Marine Corps. Based out of MCAS Yuma, VMFT-401 is a Marine Corps Reserve fighter squadron and belongs to Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing.
“VMFAT-501 sent us a feasibility support request to come and support red air for them,” said Maj. Beau Wisdom, the operations officer for VMFT-401. “Our mission here is to specifically provide support for the training squadron. We’ll be providing them with a 4 versus 4 each day, totaling eight sorties per day.”
The squadron brought five F-5N Tiger II aircraft to support dissimilar air combat training for VMFAT-501. Red air is the adversary forces for air-to-air training simulating dissimilar air tactics. Approximately 30 Marines made the trip along with the aircraft.
“We are very happy to be out here to support VMFAT-501,” said Lt. Col. Bill Sheridan, commanding officer of VMFT-401. “Understanding fleet replacement squadron training is very important to future pilot production especially as the squadron starts standing up, I think we’re going to help out pretty significantly over the next couple of years, and to be part of that is very special.”
Operating aboard the air station can bring up certain challenges for visiting squadrons that train on the facility, but that is not the case for VMFT-401.
“It’s not any different operating here,” said Wisdom. “We deploy frequently because we go where the support is needed. We provide support for Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One, Fleet Marine Forces and fleet replacement squadrons.”
The squadron consistently supports Weapons and Tactics Instructor Courses and assists squadrons in air-to-air training.
“Besides WTIs, we also support the Marine Division Tactics Course,” said Wisdom. “Once we are done with this training, we’ll be back here in support of MDTC from January to February.”
MDTC will provide aircrew and controllers with instruction in order to employ tactical jet aircraft in complex air-to-air environments.
“It’s always great to be out here in Beaufort,” said Sheridan. “We get a lot of support and we’re very grateful to everybody here.”