Forward deployed air traffic control maintains and supports aerial operations above the battle space.
The quarterly training began within the detachment’s classroom. The lessons re-familiarized air traffic controllers with the origins of MMT operations, member composition and functions of a team.
“[Marine air traffic control Mobile Team] was originated after Operation Eagle Claw when the Marine Corps noticed it needed to control aviation assets in remote locations where multiple aircraft need to land quickly and leave at once,” said 1st Lt. Jack Larimore, a MACS-2 MMT instructor. “[Air traffic control] Marines need to be on the ground guiding the pilots into the right location to prevent any confusion and reduce the chance of an accident.”
Compasses, beacons, radios, planning and booted feet; were all used while training to conduct initial site survey of potential helicopter rearmament, refuel and emergency medical evacuation points.
During deployed operations MMT Marines must master quick ways to measure distances and to survey landing zones for helicopters to use.
“By the time the Marines are overseas they have to be able to keep a pace count while running,” said Larimore.
Having an accurate landing zone measurement ensures mobile landing points can support heavy, medium or light helicopters.
Marines also trained to address wind direction while planning the initial helicopter landing pad construction.
“There are all types of factors that go into the planning of a helicopter landing pad,” said Gunnery Sgt. Conecia Pierce, a MACS-2 MMT instructor. “AMMT can be attached to any unit that needs aviation support in their area of operations.”
Marine air traffic control Mobile Teams not only create a landing zone and organize the air space above it, but also support troop welfare, close air support and force multiplication.
“Organization of a landing zone makes it easier to quickly get [helicopters] refitted and ready for the next operation,” said Pierce. “It’s our mission to get the pilots and crew ready for the fight and out again.”
By Lance Cpl. Kris Daberkoe