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TACRON 11 Sailors Operate Alongside Marines

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060703-06

By Lt. Elizabeth Pimper, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11 Public Affairs

PERSIAN GULF (NNS) -- Two Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 11 Sailors completed training and ashore air control, June 21, after two months of conducting exercises with Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Special Operations Capable (SOC).

Since arriving in the Arabian Gulf aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), the Sailors supported U.S. Marine Corps aviation operations alongside members of the Marine Air Control Ground Section (MACGS) and Marine Mobile Team (MMT) ashore.

Air Traffic Controller 2 nd Class Tony Jones and Air Traffic Controller Airman Brian Hatch, both assigned to TACRON 11, Det. 4, assisted in the coordination of air operations during sustainment training conducted by the 11th MEU.

The Sailors said they recognize the uniqueness of their responsibilities.

“We controlled aircraft while operating under another country's system, so there was a significant learning curve,” said Jones. “By the second time, however, we had already been trained on the local procedures, as well as the Marines' specific requirements, so we were much more at ease.”

The team endured environmental conditions many people regularly associate with the Middle East: high temperatures and high humidity. Fortunately, the Sailors prepared for this exercise with prior training in the Yuma Desert.

“To be honest, we never thought much about the weather until we moved into the Arabian Gulf,” said Hatch. “Once we got there, we realized it wasn't just the Marines and Sailors that were affected by the heat; the aircraft responded differently.

“We also had not experienced dust storms before, so visibility was another factor that had to be considered,” he added.

Despite an increased operations tempo in the Arabian Gulf, the squadron's commanding officer, Cmdr. Scott Fish, said he knew his Sailors could handle any challenge.

“We trained for these types of operations, [so] we were ready for whatever they threw at us," said Fish. "This Detachment never stops training, so I'm confident the controllers are ready to handle whatever task is thrown at them."

TACRON 11, Det. 4, is assigned to Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3, which deployed to the Northern Arabian Gulf in support of maritime security operations (MSO).

MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue of attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

For related news, visit the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cusnc/.

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