Reserve Marines Conduct Simulated Training
by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Melissa Martens
May 8, 2019
Maintaining a constant state of deployment readiness is a key
ingredient for Reserve Marines to stay successful and relevant in
what they do and how they perform. Whether it be annual training
requirements, or specific training geared towards individual
military occupation specialties, it all comes together to aid in a
unit’s ability to rapidly respond when called upon.
year, Reserve Marines traditionally conduct 48 drill periods and 14
days of annual training. During this time, the Marines are
developing and enhancing their skills, so they can provide highly
trained individuals to augment, reinforce and support active forces
in global engagement.
Cpl. Freddy D. Calderon, an unmanned aircraft systems operator with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 4, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve, sets the flight path for an RQ-7 Shadow to perform reconnaissance at Camp Wilson, Marine Air Ground Combat Center, 29 Palms, California, June 22, 2017 during Integrated Training Exercise 4-17. The Marines conducted reconnaissance missions in support of the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, MARFORRES, final battalion exercise of ITX 4-17. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Stanley Moy)
With the battle space ever-evolving, Marines with Marine Air
Control Group 48, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, from Chicopee,
Massachusetts; Great Lakes Illinois; Miramar, California and
Virginia Beach, spent their February drill period ensuring they are
ready for whatever threat they may encounter, by conducting
simulated training during Night Watch, a Marine Air Command and
Control System exercise in February 2019.
"We have four
outlying sites as a apart of Marine Air Control Group 48, and
through Night Watch, we tested if we could talk with each other,
coast-to-coast, using the communication and radar equipment we have
that gives us an air picture to monitor,” said Maj. Thomas Dunaway,
operations officer with Marine Air Control Squadron 24, MACG-48, 4th
MAW. “It is a 48-hour exercise where the crews practice their
turnovers, brief and debrief, and gain a better understanding of
Unlike active duty Marines, who have 365 days
each year to master their specialties, Reserve Marines have limited
time to become proficient. Capitalizing on time and staying focused
during each training block ensures the Marines maintain their
relevancy in each military occupation specialty.
“There is a
series of qualifications that all Marine Air Command and Control
System Marines must meet to be qualified to sit in certain
positions, and they get very limited opportunities to meet those
mission essential tasks and earn those qualifications,” Dunaway
said. “Night Watch gets the Marines qualified so we can maintain
readiness as a unit and we can forward deploy.”
With a staple
of the Marine Corps being to “train like we fight”, simulated
realistic training is essential to keeping the Marines skills sharp,
exposing them to situations they may encounter in the future.
“This exercise is important because in a real scenario, we could
potentially have degraded communication with some of our more
high-end equipment, forcing us to go back to basics,” Dunaway said.
“The cyberspace threat makes it crucial to test these capabilities,
and know how to operate everything we’ve got.”
various unit’s from across the country, Night Watch was an
opportunity for the Marines to not only collaborate with each other,
but understand how to integrate and operate together as one.
“What is unique about Night Watch is that it is the only time all
year that 4th Marine Aircraft Wing will get to do a Marine Air
Command and Control System exercise all together,” Dunaway said.
“Being dispersed geographically, we typically conduct separate
training events with the different squadrons. This is the one time
all of our sister squadrons will look at the same picture and same
Every Marine, no matter the job or
rank, plays a vital role in the success of their unit. Understanding
how each Marine fits in to the puzzle and how the skills they bring
to the table effect the outcome of a scenario, is a key learning
objective that Night Watch aimed to achieve.
takeaway from this exercise is the Marines having a better
understanding of what a Marine Air Command and Control System is and
what our job is,” said Gunnery Sgt. David Lopez, operations chief
with MACS-24, MACG-48, 4th MAW. “We are talking everyone from
administration, to motor transportation, to logistics. Just these
Marines seeing what they do, no matter how small their job is, and
how it plays in to the Marine Air Command and Control System as a
whole, is a success.”
The U.S. Marines