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Marine Forward Air Controllers: The Vital Link

Marine Forward Air Controllers: The Vital Link


CSC 1995







Marine Forward Air Controllers:

The Vital Link







Edmund F. Flores


United States Marine Corps





Military Issues Paper submitted to the Faculty of the

United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College in

partial fulfillment of the requirements for graduation.



April 1995




The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and

do not reflect the official policy or position of the

Department of Defense or the U.S Government







Title: Marine Forward Air Controllers: The Vital Link


Author: Major E. F. Flores, United States Marine Corps


Thesis: Because Marine Forward Air Controllers (FACs) provide much more than just

terminal control of air support, their contribution to the Marine air-ground team should not be

minimized by replacing them with nonaviators.


Background: The Marine Corps is a unique organization with a legal requirement to maintain an

amphibious capability. To accomplish this, it relies on ground forces that are relatively light and

highly mobile. Lacking heavy ground-based firepower, Marine Air-Ground Task Forces look to

their task-organized aviation components to compensate for this shortcoming. Providing the

valuable link between its air and ground forces are FACs permanently assigned to ground combat

elements. FACs are Marine aviators responsible for coordinating and controlling assault support

and close air support (CAS) operations within their units. Additionally, FACs assist the more

senior air officers (AOs) within the unit in advising their commanders on the tactical employment

and safety considerations invoked in aviation operations. The Marine Corps invests heavily in

training its FACs; from initial officer training and naval flight school to completion of tactical air

control party school. This training and the lessons learned throughout early campaigns and wars

continues to improve the sophistication and effectiveness of CAS. Jeopardizing this success are

occasional proposals by Marine units to train nonaviators to control CAS. The potential problem

that accepting these initiatives brings to the Marine Corps is the conclusion that the aviator

requirement no longer exists below the battalion AO level. Replacing FACs with nonaviator

terminal air controllers could weaken the strong air-ground team concept that the Marine Corps

continues to rely upon.


Recommendation: The Marine Corps must continue to resist the temptation to replace its FACs

with nonaviator controllers in order to fully capitalize on the tremendous capabilities of its

aviation combat element.




Thesis: Because Marine Forward Air Controllers (FACs) provide much more than just terminal

control of air support, their contribution to the Marine air-ground team should not be minimized

by replacing them with nonaviators.




A. Marine Corps fights as a MAGTF (CE, GCE, ACE, & CSSE)


B. Marine Corps relies heavily on aviation




A. Why the Marine Corps is different


B. Amphibious focus




A. Early years: Banana Wars


B. Maturation period: World War II




A. Definitions


B. What an aviator brings to the battalion




A. Common initial training and naval flight school


B. Tactical air control party school




A. Policy and guidance


B. Tactical terminal air controller




































The primary reason for the Marine Corps' having airplanes is their use in close

support of ground units.

Lieutenant General Roy S. Geiger, USMC

as quoted by Roger Willock in Unaccustomed to Fear (1968)




The Marine aviator and the Marine foot soldier must be a team.

Brigadier General Louis E. Woods, USMC

History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II (1980)




The consensus of all groups was that the best forward air controller is a trained

fighter pilot.

Central Treaty Organization conference conclusion

Air Support of Ground Forces Conference Proceedings (1966)





Marines are a different breed--they look different, their mission is different, their


requirements are different. The way they organize and train for combat is also unique


among the United States (US) armed services. Even their motto, Semper Fidelis (always


faithful), denotes an organization committed to being ready, at a moments notice, to


defend our nation's vital interests. Inherent within the Corps' motto is the supposition that


they can respond quickly and decisively with a minimum of preparation and notice. This


quick response capability enables them to participate as part of a larger naval


expeditionary force, thus projecting "the power and influence of the nation across the seas


to foreign waters and shores in both peace and war."1


The Corps is different partly because of the way it organizes itself for battle. In


almost every instance, it shows up as a total force package--ready to fight upon arrival


with everything from ground and combat service support to aviation assets. That is how


Marines operate. Whether participating as smaller Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special


Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)) or a larger Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF),


Marines always include their aviation. It is part of what they bring to the table when


they deploy; more importantly, it is their doctrine.2


Just as aviation is an integral part of how the Marine Corps organizes to fight, the


forward air controllers (FACs) that coordinate and control air support are just as essential


in accomplishing the aviation mission. They are the interface, the conduit, that gives the


Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commander the ability to unleash the potential


firepower and mobility of Marine aviation. Because Marines always plan to fight as a


MAGTF, FACs, along with the more senior air officer (AO) in a battalion, are an essential


addition to the ground combat element's (GCE's) table of organization.


FACs are Marine aviators3 trained to support the GCE maneuver elements by


coordinating and controlling assault support and close air support (CAS) operations. As


terminal controllers of CAS, they are responsible for controlling aircraft (both fixed-wing


and rotary-wing)4 in close proximity to friendly personnel. Similar to the AOs, they are


also responsible for advising the commander on the tactical employment and safety


considerations involved in aviation operations. The Marine Corps places great emphasis


on the safety of its personnel, particularly those locked in close battle with the enemy.


Because of this, FACs have the responsibility for the final clearance to drop ordnance on


all CAS missions. Not only must FACs ensure that they are adequately marking the


target, they must also be absolutely sure that the CAS aircraft is attacking what is


marked.5 Fratricide is not acceptable.


Can nonaviators control CAS in the Marine Corps? There is little doubt that


nonaviators can learn the procedures to control CAS in most situations and achieve


adequate results. The real question is, "should they be allowed to?" Since World War


II, when the Marines and other armed services first recognized the benefits of having an


aviator control CAS, initiatives to consider alternative sources for FACs has been the


source of much debate.6 Although the advantages to having an aviator FAC is a


universally accepted concept, Marine units continue to draft and forward contrary


proposals on a fairy regular basis.7 Headquarters, Marine Corps (HQMC) assigns FACs


to GCEs (e.g., infantry battalions, tank battalions, etc.) on each coast as well as to the four


air and naval gunfire liaison companies (ANGLICO). Of the 124 total FACs assigned,


roughly 20 (16%) receive orders to ANGLICO.8 Although a minority population, the


ANGLICO units is where the majority of requests to augment the numbers of FACs


originates. The main concern in granting approval for the smaller, specialized ANGLICO


units to permanently augment their FAC positions with nonaviators is that the Marine


Corps would feel the repercussions for years to come.


In justifying the need for a decision in 1990 on a program designed to augment


aviator FACs with nonaviators, Aviation Manpower Support at HQMC stated:


This Program is in response to numerous General Officer inquiries regarding the

training of members of the ground combat elements as FACs...Historically all

FACs have been designated aviators, however, in crisis situations personnel other

than FACs have coordinated air strikes.9


Other reasons cited to justify proposals to replace the aviator requirement are aviator


retention problems, better ways to employ expensively trained pilots, and a potential lack


of aviator FACs with every element which might require air support.


With today's lethality in weaponry, the margin for error is small and can result in


unacceptable friendly casualties. However, Marine FACs are much more than just safety


observers. Located within the operations sections of their maneuver units, they represent


the aviation perspective (in addition to the AO) during the planning and execution phases


of day-to-day training and real world operations. Their invaluable insight into the complex


world of aviation combined with their basic understanding of Marine infantry tactics make


them force multipliers. In order for the Marine air-ground team to work effectively and


to reduce the risk of fratricide, the Marine Corps must continue to staff its FAC positions


with aviators and resist the occasional temptation to replace them with nonaviators.10




Compared to the other US military services, the Marine Corps is not a large


organization. It does, however, possess a large fleet of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft


upon which it depends for firepower and mobility. Unlike the Army and Air Force, the


Marine Corps fully integrates its air delivered fires with land action to maximize the shock


effect provided by today's modern weaponry.


What makes the Marine Corps different from the other US military services is a


simple matter of law. Following World War II, proponents of atomic weapons felt


confident that the Marines and their amphibious warfare tactics were no longer necessary


for the nation's defense.11 Additionally, because of the enormous wartime growth seen by


all services, the Army's leadership wanted to unify the armed services; the Navy and


Marine Corps did not.12 After the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alexander


A. Vandegrift, convinced both General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Army's Chief of Staff,


and President Harry S. Truman that the Marines had no ambition of becoming a second


land army, the National Security Act (NSA) became law in 1947.13 The new law not only


protected the Corps from extinction, it also reaffirmed the Marine Corps' relationship with


the Navy and formally recognized its unique amphibious function.14


The emotional fight to protect the Marine Corps and define its limits culminated in


Public Law (PL) 416 of the 82nd Congress on 28 June 1952.15 The new law, amending


the NSA of 1947, guaranteed that the Marine Corps would consist of:


...not less than three combat divisions, three air wings, and such other land combat,

aviation, and other services as may be organic therein...and [to] provide fleet

marine forces of combined aims, together with supporting air components, for

service with the fleet in the seizure and defense of advanced naval bases and for the

conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval

campaign....In addition, the Marine Corps...shall perform such other duties as the

President may direct.16


The law recognized two main points. First, the United States must maintain a viable and


potent force-in-readiness. Second, maintaining and improving the amphibious landing


techniques was of paramount importance. Both points addressed the concerns of those


interested in the nation's defense following the country's ill-prepared entry into the Korean


War, a conflict raging at the time of PL 416's enactment.


With the amphibious focus clearly its primary role, the Marine Corps thus had the


responsibility to "develop in coordination with the Army and the Air Force, those phases


of amphibious operations which pertain to the tactics, techniques, and equipment used by


landing forces."17 Making this requirement even more critical today is the steadily


shrinking number of overseas bases to which America has access.18 This increases the


need to keep and maintain sea-based forces. When our national interests are at stake, a


forcible entry option must always be available.


In developing amphibious doctrine, the force structure of the Marines must be such


that "strategic and tactical mobility is preserved by lightly equipped Marine forces which


are manpower intensive in comparison with other conventional forces."19 To meet this


need, the Marine Corps remains committed to traveling light while still maintaining the


necessary firepower to meet its requirements. How the Marines organize to fight is


through the MAGTF concept. MAGTFs are combined armed forces composed of a


command element (CE), a ground combat element (GCE), an aviation combat element


(ACE), and a combat service support element (CSSE). Led by a single commander,


MAGTFs remain flexible in size to be responsive to accomplish specific missions.


Although the MAGTF relies greatly on the contributions of all of its individual


elements, it is heavily dependent on the ACE for air support. Doctrinally, Marine aviation


supports the MAGTF by accomplishing six functions: antiair warfare, offensive air


support, assault support, air reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and command and


control. To best understand how the ACE integrates within the MAGTF, it is helpful to


view its contributions within the context of firepower, mobility, and aviation-unique




Firepower. Lacking heavy, ground-based firepower in exchange for increased

transportability, the MAGTF looks to the ACE to make up for this deficit. The

inherent flexibility and range of aviation extends its reach and improves its

responsiveness over great distances.


Mobility. Through its sea- and land-based assets, the ACE provides the means to

quickly transport a ground force (GCE or CSSE) to practically any position on the

battlefield. This capability allows the MAGTF commander the opportunity to

mass forces quickly and also provides for the rapid buildup of combat power

ashore during amphibious operations.


Aviation-Unique Support. The airborne electronic warfare and command &

control capability that the ACE provides to the MAGTF is invaluable. Through

the specialized products the ACE provides, the MAGTF is in a better position to

carry out its assigned missions.20


The Marine Corps air-ground team is a balanced force of air and ground weapons under


the command of a single Marine. During hearings conducted on CAS by a special Senate


Armed Services subcommittee in the autumn of 1971, then deputy chief of staff(DCIS)


for Marine aviation, Major General Homer S. Hill, stated, "The task of projecting forces


from the sea toward hostile shores requires highly mobile, self-sufficient forces of


combined arms capable of delivering a high level of firepower. Because of the tactical


flexibility and combat effectiveness of aviation weapons systems, heavy reliance in


amphibious operations is placed in CAS."21


The heavy reliance on CAS during amphibious operations to which Major General


Hill referred was born of necessity. When no other fire support means are available, the


ACE must be ready.22 In order to provide this capability, the Marine Corps invests


heavily in its potent aviation arsenal. With so much at stake, it makes little sense to


potentially jeopardize the quality of air support by compromising on the requirements


necessary to become a FAC. Marine FACs must wear wings in order to fully capitalize


on the tremendous capabilities that aviation provides.




Relying heavily on aviation to provide the bulk of its firepower, the Marine Corps


continues to build on the tradition and lessons learned on how to conduct effective CAS.


Depending upon the individual's background and experiences, CAS can take on many


descriptions. The recognized definition for all US and allied forces, as listed in the Joint


Chiefs of Staff Publication 1 (JCS Pub 1) Department of Defense [(DOD)] Dictionary of


Military and Associated Terms, is: "Air action against hostile targets which are in close


proximity to friendly forces and which require detailed integration of each air mission with


the fire and movement of those forces."23 Simply stated, CAS is placing air delivered


ordinance where and when the Marines on the ground need it.


To Marines on the ground, the most important ingredients of CAS are getting it


quickly and accurately onto target. To someone pinned down by fire, minutes seem like


an eternity. Delay scan mean the difference between life and death. Failure to execute any


portion of a CAS mission in a timely and correct manner can result in a number of


unwanted situations, the least of which is a loss of momentum while the worst can be


unacceptable losses inflicted on friendly personnel. Possesssing the tools to perform CAS


is one thing, successfully executing the procedures is another matter. As the former


Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and Commanding General of the Marine


forces during Operation Desert Storm, Lieutenant General Walter E. Boomer, stated, "It


is one thing to possess modern weapons and quite another to successfully employ them


with fully synergistic effect in concert with other military capabilities."24 One of the


MAGTF commander's biggest challenges is to ensure the blending of his elements into a


combined arms team that is a unified and functioning whole.


Over the years, the Marine Corps developed a strong, mutually binding


relation between its ground and air components. Prior to World War II, while most of


the world's air forces were looking for ways to divorce themselves from their ground


brethren, the Marine Corps sought to capitalize on the synergy of the two. Air operations


conducted in Haiti and the Dominican Republic supported the Marines on the ground with


reconnaissance, supply, transportation, and some rudimentary CAS. Not until their


fighting in Nicaragua, however, did the Marines achieve any sort of success with CAS.


Although primitive by today's standards, it was in Central America where the Marine


air-ground team was born.25


During World War II, the Marines continued to improve its tactics and techniques


in order to conduct effective CAS in support of ground forces. Always looking for new


and innovative ways to assist their ground counterparts, Marine pilots seized the


opportunity to prove their theories on CAS. One Marine aviator in particular, Lieutenant


Colonel Keith B. McCutcheon, viewed CAS as a tool, another supporting arm, that


enabled the ground commander to more effectively advance on his target. Because of his


persistence and visionary thoughts, Marine pilots provided CAS missions whenever they




The vast operating areas of the Pacific Island campaigns of World War II also


meant that Marine aviators often supported other services with air support. Even when


not providing for their own, Marine aviation units continued to work on improving the


accuracy and responsiveness of CAS. General Douglas MacArthur's Army forces fighting


to retake the Philippine Islands during the early months of 1945 thus benefited from the


advancements and innovations in CAS. During that campaign, Marine Aircraft Group


(MAG) 24's operations officer was Lieutenant Colonel McCutcheon. He persuaded the


skeptical Army commanders to give his Marine aviators the opportunity to prove the


utility of CAS, and prove it they did.27 The attitudes of many Army commanders switched


from doubt to praise. The 1st Cavalry Division commander, Major General Verne D.


Mudge, said of his Marine air support: "The Marine dive-bomber pilots on Luzon are


well-qualified for the job they are doing, and I have the greatest confidence in their


ability....The job they turned in speaks for itself. We are here....I cannot say enough in


praise of these dive-bomber pilots and their gunners."28


Because of their background, Marine aviators supported the concept that


McCutcheon heralded. As mentioned earlier, Marine aviators prided themselves on the


close marriage that existed between their air and ground components. Whether from


actual combat experience (many Marine pilots served their first tours as ground officers)29


or from the rigorous training prior to attending flight school, Marine aviators were


empathetic to their fellow Marines on the ground. During World War II, that special bond


and trust served the Marines on the ground well as both elements continued in the struggle


to make CAS work. Unfortunately, the methodology used to gain improvements was one


of trial and error.30


Sortie after sortie, Marine aviators methodically reduced the safety margin


required to deliver bombs in support of friendly forces Colonel Noah C. New, highly


decorated Vietnam War veteran and former MAG-36 Commanding Officer, offered his


views in 1971 before the same Senate subcommittee investigating CAS.31 In his


testimony, he said, "It is very important to kill the enemy, but since CAS is delivered close


to the troops, it is more important not to kill our own."32 Because of that philosophy, the


Marine Corps takes seriously the potential ill consequences of an improperly coordinated


or controlled air support mission.


Just like most marriages, the union of the GCE and the ACE has not always been


easy. Integrating the effects of CAS into the ground scheme of maneuver often proved


to be disappointing. Developments occurred to improve CAS in peripheral areas such as


better communications equipment, improved munitions, and more distinctive methods for


marking the location of friendly lead elements; however, significant improvements evaded


the Marines until they began the policy of providing a designated aviator to the ground


units.33 By the end of World War II, the accepted method for coupling aviation with the


GCEs was through the FAC. CAS effectiveness improved dramatically when the men at


both ends of the radios were aviators.34


Because he, too, was an aviator, the FAC was better able to appreciate the CAS


pilot's problems in striking targets. The same problems that existed for Marine pilots first


experimenting with CAS, such as target detection, location of friendly forces, and target


area tactics, plagued World War II aviators just as they do today's. An aviator FAC


cannot guarantee better results, but his background improves the odds of success.




For the MAGTF to be effective, Marine aviation must be responsive with timely


air support. The CAS procedures that contemporary Marines take for granted came from


the lessons and technological improvements gained during World War II. Since those


days and because of their backgrounds, aviators proved to be ideal for the position as


FAC: they were comfortable with radio vernacular and jargon; they understood the


capabilities and limitations of the aircraft they controlled; and they could appreciate the


demands of the flight environment. The skills that aviators bring to the GCE are as valid


today as they were during World War II.


Having demonstrated the criticality of employing aviator FACs to maximize the


effects of CAS, the Marine Corps has continued to be quite explicit in defining the


requirement in its basic aviation doctrine. Additionally, the basic DOD source for


standard military terminology, JCS Pub 1, is equally as clear and precise in lining aviators


to the FAC position. The FAC definition in each is very similar:


Fleet Marine Force Manual (FMFM) 5-1, Organization and Function of

Marine Aviation. The Marine Corps' FAC is a naval aviator or naval flight officer

who is a member of the tactical air control party (TACP). The FAC controls

aircraft providing direct air support to ground forces. The FAC operates from

forward ground positions. Although not part of the ACE, the FAC is an essential

Marine air command and control system (MACCS) element.35


JCS Pub 1. (DOD) An officer (aviator/pilot) member of the tactical air control

party who, from a forward ground or airborne position, controls aircraft in close

air support of ground troops.36


The JCS Pub 1 definition meets the guidelines set forth by DOD Directive 5000.9,


"Standardization of Military Terminology." That directive requires "the DOD to insure


uniformity in the application and use of terms and definition."37 The definition from


FMFM 5-1 is consistent with, and works within, the intent of JCS Pub 1.


Although tactical air control parties (TACPs) are organic to Marine infantry


divisions and regiments, FACs primarily work within the battalion TACPs.38 Being closer


to the fight, the battalion TACP has three aviators and 12 enlisted radio operators. The


senior aviator is the battalion AO, while the two junior aviators perform FAC duties.39


Each FAC leads a battalion FAC party and contributes significantly in the employment and


coordination of aircraft whether in the field or garrison environment. Operating with the


battalion's lead companies, FACs also provide the necessary aviation interface and advice


to company and battalion commanders.


As the senior aviator in the battalion, the AO's primary responsibility is to ensure


the needed aviation expertise is available to his commander when required. Since he is the


commander's principle advisor on all matters relating to aviation, the AO is a prime player


whenever the planning or executing of operations becomes necessary. When the


commander needs advice or information about the capabilities of Marine aviation


assets--fixed-wing, rotary-wing, or air control--nobody can do this better than the AO.


But AOs are not always available. In addition to serving as the prime terminal air


controllers within each battalion TACP, FACs thus prove themselves valuable as


additional AOs.


Although the control of CAS is a critical element of a FACs responsibilities, it


often eclipses his contribution as another aviation advisor. By mixing the backgrounds


(fixed-wing and rotary-wing) of the FACs and AOs provided to each battalion, HQMC


increases the likelihood of success for its MAGTFs on the battlefield. Each community


provides its own unique contribution to Marine air and, correspondingly, to the MAGTF.


Having a representative from each is one more step in optimizing air-ground integration.


Whether a FAC or an AO, the commander can exploit their knowledge of the Marine


Aircraft Wing (MAW) to his advantage. Without these additional aviators within the


battalion, the daily coordination that must take place at the lowest levels might not be as




With Marine aviators permanently assigned to ground units, the benefits to training


in all areas greatly improves. Not only does the GCE profit, but the entire MAGTF enjoys


the benefits as well. Cross-fertilization of the daily rigors, deprivations, and hardships that


the GCE contends with become ingrained in the FACs who are the Corps' future squadron


commanders. They, in turn, are available to explain the "hows" and "whys" of aviation


Two Marine aviators who formerly served as FACs and then later as AOs with GCEs,


reported that they considered training the number one priority during their tours. With the


complexities intrinsic within aviation, they believed an important part of their job was to


eliminate as many barriers to its sac and effective employment.40


Depending on the FACs background, training can assume many forms. At a


minimum, most FACs instruct their units on the radio and coordination techniques for


controlling CAS. In the dynamic battlefield of the contemporary era, the FAC must plan


for every contingency--including his own absence. Other training emphasized includes


emergency helicopter egress procedures, landing zone (LZ) preparation briefs, glide angle


indicator lights (GAIL) set-up, LZ control procedures, night vision goggle (NVG)


procedures, and aircraft recognition.41


The Marine Corps takes the importance of CAS and the requirement for an aviator


FAC very seriously, not only for their terminal controlling abilities but for their all-around


knowledge of Marine aviation. Battalions depend on this additional expertise to augment


the solitary AO. If the Marine Corps were to allow nonaviators to control CAS on a


permanent basis, this could eventually lead to a diminishing requirement for aviators within


the GCE below the battalion AO. With the heavy reliance it places on its aviation


(especially during initial amphibious operations), this would be detrimental and damaging


to the future of the Marine air-ground team.




Generally "recruited" after their first tour with a fleet squadron, Marine FACs


pursue the three week TACP course of instruction with the Expeditionary Warfare


Training Group (EWTG).42 Upon completion, they qualify for the secondary military


occupational specialty (MOS) of 7207. The curriculum includes classroom instruction in


CAS procedures, suppression of enemy air defenses, artillery/naval surface fire support


call-for-fire, aviation planning for amphibious operations, and general fire support


planning. The last week of training culminates with field work during which each student


FAC controls actual aircraft on CAS missions.43 But what training does the Marine


aviator receive before this?


In order for a Marine aviator to be eligible to fill a FAC billet, he must first


complete two very challenging schools: the Marine Corps Basic School (TBS) and Naval


Flight School. The Marine Corps still emphasizes that all of its officers know and


appreciate the viewpoint of the infantryman. Inevitably, the infantry commander will lead


and direct the actions of the basic Marine rifleman--the heart of the Marine Corps.44


Unlike the other US military services that have specialized officer ascension training, the


Marine Corps still trains 100 percent of its commissioned officers in one specialty: the rifle


platoon commander.


Regardless in what field the young officer will eventually specialize (e.g., armor,


intelligence, communications, aviation, infantry, etc.), he or she will first complete the


course of instruction at TBS. Approximately 23 weeks in length, this training serves as


the foundation and provides the infantry officer's perspective for every officer within the


Marine Corps.45 The mission of TBS is:


To educate newly commissioned officers in the high standards of professional

knowledge, esprit de corps, and leadership traditional in the Marine Corps in order

to prepare them for the duties of a company-grade officer in the Fleet Marine

Force, with particular emphasis on the duties and responsibilities of a rifle platoon



Although an expensive initiation and investment, the Marine Corps values the future


benefits that common basic training provided Colonel George Smith, former TBS


Commanding Officer during the Vietnam War, stated "But in the Marine Corps, in the


CAS concept, the Marine officer who wears the naval aviator wings is, first, a Marine


officer. That is important, and it is the common denominator aspect of our entire


air-ground team concept of the Marine Corps."47


Continuing with the Marine FACs road to qualification is his initiation into naval


aviation. Following completion of TBS, prospective naval aviators tackle the rigors of the


Naval Air Training Command and pursue its rigorous syllabi in one of three aviation


communities: strike (jet), helicopter, or maritime (transport). The training lasts from one


year (helicopter and maritime) to 11/2 years (strike) and contains many of its own deep


traditions.48 Highlighting the nautical initiation is the opportunity to become carrier


qualified: a tradition never forgotten. More importantly, it introduces the future aviator,


FAC, or possibly MAGTF commander to the difficulties and challenges faced when


operating from embarked naval shipping.


Aviators bring with them a certain amount of knowledge and experience that the


nonaviator simply does not have. Yes, nonaviators bring other valuable experiences


learned from their respective MOSs; however, their backgrounds and experiences


probably relate very little to controlling CAS. The integrated air-ground team is


dependent on the commander receiving sound aviation advice from his AO and FACs. By


not having experienced the dynamics of flight, or the three-dimensional perspective of the


battlefield, nonaviators might not recognize potential problems or exploitation


opportunities that the aviator could.49 If the Marine Corps is serious about providing the


best possible air support for the MAGTF, then accepting nonaviators as FACs is contrary


to Marine Corps interests.




By doctrine, all US military services acknowledge that FACs must be aviators.


The Marine Corps continues to support this requirement through aggressive assignment


policies and staffing precedences as outlined in Marine Corps Orders (MCOs) 1301.25A


and 5320. 12C, "Assignment of Aviation Officers to Duty as FACs" and "Staffing


Precedences for Officer and Enlisted Billets", respectively. The discussion section within


MCO 1301.25A offers a clear and concise policy of how the Marine Corps views its


FACs. It states:


The FAC coordinates and controls close air and assault support missions and

advises the ground commander on matters pertaining to air support. The

assignment of skilled company grade naval aviators and naval flight officers on a

permanent basis is essential to the Marine Corps combined arms, "air-ground

team" concept.50


Additionally, the Aviation Officer Assignment Branch (MMOA-2), HQMC, fills all AO


and FAC positions under a priority command staffing precedence. Listed as the second


highest staffing precedence to excepted command, MCO 5320.12C defines priority


command as:


Staffed at 100 percent of authorized strength in gross numbers. Because of

inventory shortages, priority commands may not be staffed with the authorized

number of each grade and MOS. Since few priority commands have identical

authorized strengths for all MOSs and grades, differences in their percentage of

authorization for specific MOSs and grades may exist.51


With excepted commands receiving the highest priority to staff at 100 percent by grade


and MOS, aviation manpower monitors strive to fill all AO and FAC positions as


aggressively as possible under priority command guidelines.52


Concerned that commanders and manpower managers were not placing quality


aviators in FAC and AO positions, HQMC clarified its position on the subject in October


1989. The key points of the guidance were:


-These policies/procedures are implemented to ensure that highly qualified, well

trained company grade aviators are available and assigned in a timely manner to

carry out this most important duty within the air/ground team.


-Well trained FACs/AOs are integral to the combat readiness of MAGTF units.


-Officers assigned FAC duty should be of the highest quality.


-Early identification of officers so assigned is essential to a successful program

and important to the individual officer.


-FAC/AO assignments are career broadening and an important benchmark in the

Marine aviation officer career path.53


With this as guidance and MCO 1301.25A providing further amplification, Marine


aviation manpower monitors know the commander's intent. Aware that the quality of


Marine aviators assigned to the GCEs and CEs can make a big difference in the air-ground


team concept, Captain J. Scott Walsh, company-grade fixed-wing monitor, MMOA-2,


HQMC, stated in March 1995 that the official policy for the entire section was to support


the relationship to the maximum extent possible. Unofficially, he cited his own identity as


a Marine, foremost, and wanted to ensure that his ground counterparts received the best


possible candidates to represent their aviation interests.54


Despite formal guidance and the best intentions of most Marine leaders, attempts


continue within Marine units to artificially increase the numbers of terminal air


controllers.55 The recurring theme from the majority of requests cite manpower problems


and the lack of sufficient aviators to fill the required number of FAC positions. There is


also a perceived notion that when the Marine Corps is fighting aviator retention issues,


FAC positions go unfilled. This is simply incorrect, as evidenced by the guidance


directives and the policies of aviation manpower. The Marine Corps is willing to risk


filling the fleet squadrons to a lesser level in order to staff the FAC and AO positions




Approximately once every few years, HQMC entertains proposals from Marine


schools and units to train nonaviators in the skills necessary to control CAS.57 The most


recent submission, terminated by HQMC on 20 August 1992, once again proposed to train


key individuals within the GCE as tactical terminal air controllers (TTACs).58 That


submission took HQMC over two years to staff; the result: the Marine Corps would not


deviate in its policy.59 Fortunately for the Marine Corps, HQMC remains committed to its


policy of requiring its FACs be aviators.


What brought attention to the TTAC issue was an agenda item and ensuing


discussions at the fifteenth annual Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC)


planning and scheduling conference held during 1989. The agenda item requested TACP


instruction for nonaviator, company-grade officers.60 Why? Because of concern that a


reinforced battalion might create more maneuver elements than its organic FAC parties


could adequately service. This situation occurred during a Combined Arms Exercise


(CAX)just prior to the conference. While recognizing that the situation was possible,


HQMC acknowledged that its occurrence was unlikely and that each separate maneuver


element would not be "...immediately invoked in the main attack."61 HQMC wisely did


not grant approval for the TTAC program.


Since the October 1989 HQMC guidance message on filling FAC and AO


positions, finding sufficient aviators to fill these billets has not been unmanageable.


According to Captain Walsh, very rarely will his section allow battalions to go without


their required minimum number of three aviators without exceptional circumstances.62 He


routinely witnesses aviation headquarters elements (e.g., MAWs and MAGs) scramble to


offer replacements to fill emergency vacancies; the MAG's motivation to fill these


positions is to maintain the good working relationship with their ground counterparts


One example illustrates this. MAG-31 works extremely hard to perpetuate a close


air-ground team. After having furnished a FAC to one of the eastcoast infantry battalions,


MAG-31 learned that their nominee was tendering his resignation from the Marine Corps.


He had served approximately two months of his twelve month tour with the battalion up


to that point. Aware that the FAC was still under obligation to complete the remainder of


his tour and that it had no requirement to replace him early, MAG-31 opted to do just


that.63 With a well-established policy of sending quality Marine aviators to fill its FAC


quotas, MAG-31 did not want to jeopardize the gains made in cooperation and


team building over the years. Within one week a replacement was enroute to the battalion


and the resigning FAC recalled. Good marriages require hard work over time if they are


to survive. MAG-31 definitely takes its role seriously in preserving the relationship.


Though not a completely fool proof system, MAG-31's attempts to send quality,


career-minded aviators to fill its FAC quotas is paying long term dividends. As an


incentive, aviators selected for the FAC program generally become the MAG's future


Weapons Tactics Instructors (WTI) and Top Gun graduates.64 MAG-31 wisely looks for


commitment in grooming its future leaders and has found a program that produces


mutually supporting results. The GCEs receive motivated, top-performing aviators who


are eager to produce, while MAG-31 (the ACE) receives a more capable and experienced






Does the Marine Corps ever grant exceptions to its policy of requiring aviators to


fill all FAC positions? No. All FACs assigned to GCEs are aviators and graduates of


TACP school. It does, however, grant exceptions for nonaviators to control CAS


missions under certain exigent situations where a FAC is unavailable. During those


situations, HQMC generally grants the authority for individuals to control their own air


support. The classic example invokes a reconnaissance team without a FAC that requests


CAS. If granted approval for a requested mission, then the senior member of the recon


team receives the authority to control the strike. This type of approval is not unusual for


small, often clandestine, units that cannot afford the luxury of a FAC.65


The Marine Corps also routinely grants waivers to control CAS for artillery


officers assigned to ANGLICO units as Firepower Control Team(FCT) officers. The


waivers give temporary authority to FCT officers to control CAS missions for specified


periods of time, generally the length of a given exercise or commitment. With the current


trends of increasing operational tempo and drawdown of personnel, ANGLICO units may


find themselves in situations with insufficient numbers of FACs to meet all their


obligations.66 HQMC continues to grant isolated waivers, but persists in denying any and


all requests for blanket waivers or changes in the basic aviator requirement. Commenting


in 1986 on this topic while DC/S for Marine aviation, Lieutenant General Keith A. Smith,




...Such an integration provides not only trained aviators/NFOs, but also maintains

a vital linkage between ground and air units at the grass roots level. Recommend

that ANGLICO units continue to train 0802s [artillery officers] to perform their

assigned functions as Fire Power Control Team Leaders and that control of CAS

by non-aviators continue to be an emergency measure.67


In trying to preserve the sanctity of the relationship between the ACE and the GCE, the


Marine Corps remains firm in its requirement that only aviators can be FACs. Of equal


merit is its understanding that some amount of flexibility must remain for changing


situations and unique circumstances.




The initial reasons for requiring a FAC to be an aviator were for better


coordination and increased safety. That was the original premise behind taking aviators


out of their cockpits and handing them helmets, canteens, and radios. The evolutionary


changes that the Marine Corps has made over the years only increases the need for this




Each aviator that serves as a FAC takes with him a wealth of experience and


expertise from his particular community. Close liaison is the glue that holds the


air-ground team together. Marine Corps leadership decided long ago that aviators could


best support this bond; that argument is still valid today. As part of the air-ground team,


Marine air also benefits from this close integration. With the emphasis that the Marines


place on supporting the basic infantryman, FACs returning to their squadrons take with


them valuable knowledge and a renewed outlook about the role of Marine air. They


witness, first hand, the employment of CAS and the other functions of Marine air through


the eyes of the customer.


Most aviators that successfully complete air-ground assignments also walk away


astonished at how much they have learned from their brothers on the ground. They speak


of learning the big picture behind Marine air and why the Grunts prefer Marines overhead


when faced with an extremis situation. In a recent article, one former AO described his


experience in the following manner:


...I know how they think, how they operate, and what's important to them and

why. As I go back to the cockpit, I see the battlefield from two perspectives

now--from the guy that has to stay there when I fly back to base....I have an

additional view to consider--an expanded way of thinking.68


This article reflects the majority viewpoint of most aviators, post-ground tour. Standing


on the ground and seeing Marine air from another perspective helps in the education of the


young aviator FAC and future MAGTF commander. Clearly the value of Marine aviators


serving as FACs is priceless. The Marine Corps must continue to oppose the periodic


temptation to replace them with nonaviators.








Before the war nears all Marine aviators had served as company officers.

The senior flyers knew the problems of the men on foot, and they were

therefore more likely to have a sympathetic understanding of the man who

had to assault a pillbox or a hillside cave....they were still [M]arines first,

aviators second. This conditioned their attitude toward the troops on the


Robert Sherrod

History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II (1980)




1 U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Paper, ...From the Sea (Washington, DC: GPO,

1992), Introduction.


2 Fleet Marine Force Manual (FMFM) 1-2, The Role of the Marine Corps in the

National Defense, (Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, Headquarters, United

States Marine Corps, June 1991), 3-6. Only by exception will a MEF not deploy as an

entire package (CE, GCE, ACE, and CSSE). If tasked by the highest authority, MEFs can

task organize into smaller forces taking advantage of adaptive force packaging.


3 Although naval aviation makes a distinction between aviators (pilots) and naval

flight officers (bombardiers, navigators, radar intercept officers, and electronic

countermeasures officers), for the purposes of this paper all aviation designated officers

will be referred to as aviators.


4 Maj Jon M. Davis, USMC, former AV-8B Section Head and Chairman, Offensive

Air Support Committee, at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One

(MAWTS-1), interview by author, 3 March 1995. The Marine Corps no longer

distinguishes between fixed-wing and rotary-wing CAS and therefore disgarded the old

term close in fire support (CIFS).


5 Maj Douglas R. Doerr, USMC, and Mr. William H. Blackburn, former USMC

FACs and AOs, interviewed by author, 11 March 1995. Although the importance of a

FAC coordinating and controlling helicopter operations is also a critical element of a

FAC's responsibilities, the focus of this paper will be on CAS. During the interview with

Mr. Blackburn, he stated, "Just like having a fighter or attack pilot is the optimum choice

for a FAC to control CAS, being a helo pilot is optimum for knowing procedures in and

around LZs. You can kill somebody just as well by not knowing what to look for around

an LZ as you can with an errant bomb!!!"


6 Col Charles R. Dougherty, USAF, History of the Forward Air Controller (USAF),

Unpublished thesis (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air War College, May, 1970), 18.


7 TACP Training and Readiness (T&R) Conference, subject: "TACP T&R

Conference Report," 4-8 October 1993, Quantico, VA: Marine Corps Combat

Development Command (MCCDC), February 1994. During the first TACP T&R

conference held in October 1993, an agenda item proposed by a major subordinate

command recommended that the Marine Corps formalize procedures to qualify

nonaviators as terminal controllers. Its justification was that Marine units such as

ANGLICO have no aviators in terminal control billets and must rely on unit level training

to qualify ground officers as trial controllers. Its recommendation was to establish a

standardized, formal syllabus to qualify nonaviators as terminal air controllers.


8 Capt J. Scott Walsh, USMC, company-grade fixed-wing monitor, MMOA-2 at

HQMC, interview by author, 6 March 1995.


9 HQMC, decision paper, Aviation Manpower and Support (ASM) Branch, subject:

"Establishment of a Tactical Terminal Air Controller (TTAC) Program", 22 January 1990.

In 1985 and again in 1992, 2nd ANGLICO (2nd Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and

Intelligence Group (SRIG), II MEF) requested a decision by HQMC on their proposal to

qualify nonaviator FACs as "universal spotters". In both cases, HQMC denied their



10 The speed, accuracy, and lethality of the ACE's assets gives the MAGTF

commander the flexibility to influence all segments of the battlefield at one time. Working

beyond the proximity of the ground close battle, aviation influences the deep battle for the

MAGTF commander in anticipation of future operations. What sets the Marines apart

from the other services is the dependence of air support in the close battle area.


11 Col John A. DeChant, USMCR, The Modern United State Marine Corps

(Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc., 1966), 112.


12 J. Robert Moskin, The U.S. Marine Corps (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co.,

1987), 433. Testifying before the Senate Naval Affairs Committee in May 1946, the

Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alexander A Vandegrift, accused the Army of

trying to limit the Marine Corps to mere ceremonial functions and a small ineffective

amphibious unit.


13 The Marine Corps did not want to become a second land army. They did,

however, want to remain the Navy's partner in amphibious operations.


14 Jack Rummel, The U.S. Marine Corps, Know Your Government (Series) (New

York: Chelsea House Publications, 1990), 88; LtCol Philip N. Pierce, USMC (Ret.) and

LtCol Frank O. Hough, USMCR, The Compact History of the United States Marine

Corps (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1964), 280. "Rather than abolishing the

Marine Corps, its enemies had succeeded in bringing about an Act of Congress which

re-emphasized the Corps vital role in the Armed Forces of the United States."


15 Moskin, 435.


16 Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication (FMFRP) 2-12, Marine Air-Ground

Task Force: A Global Capability (Washington, DC: Department of the Navy,

Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, June 1991), 11.


17 FMFM 1-2, 3-6.


18 FMFRP 2-12, 48.


19 LtGen Keith A. Smith, USMC, "The Posture of Marine Aviation in FY88-FY89,"

Marine Corps Gazette, May 1978, 47.


20 Smith, 47.


21 U.S Congress, Special Subcommittee on Close Air Support of the Preparedness

Investigating Subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services, Report on Close Air

Support, Senate, 92nd Cong., 1st sess., 1971, Committee Print, 268.


22 A precept of being expeditionary and amphibious is having the ability to travel

rapidly, lightly, and with a minimum of external support. Many amphibious operations call

for the seizure of a hostile beachhead. Because of its great flexibility during the critical

early phases of these operations, aviation is generally the most effective organic

supporting arm obtainable: artillery is frequently not available, mortars may not range or

be in a position to help, and the target might not be suitable, or in a position for naval

surface fires to strike.


23 JCS Pub 1, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

(Washington, DC: GPO, June 1987), 70.


24 LtGen Walter E. Boomer, USMC, "Conventional Operations as Sea-based

Forces," Perspectives on Warfighting, No.2, Vol 1 (Quantico, VA: Marine Corps

University, 1992), 115.


25 Peter B. Mersky, U.S. Marine Corps Aviation: 1912 to the Present (Annapolis:

The Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of America, 1983) 21; Moskin, 160. "The

Marine Corps' first major Caribbean intervention began in Nicaragua on the Central

American mainland in 1912. The biggest of the Banana Wars ranges over 20 years and

reached two climaxes separated by World War I."


26 Mersky, 105.


27 John Trotti, Marine Air: First to Fight (Navato, CA: Presidio Press, 1985), 28.


28 Mersky, 104-106.


29 LtCol Edward C. Johnson, USMC, Marine Corps Aviation: The Early Years

1912-1940, ed. Graham A. Cosmas (Washington, DC: GPO, 1977), 79.


30 Dougherty, 18.


31 U.S. Congress, Senate, 252. Col Noah C. New testified along with DC/S for

Marine aviation, MajGen Homer S. Hill during Senate hearings in October 1971 to

evaluate the roles, missions, and hardware options available to conduct CAS. During

1969, Col New was the CO of MAG-36, a rotary-wing organization. His previous

assignment in 1969 was as the XO of MAG-12, a fixed-wing organization. His extensive

and varied background made him an excellent choice to represent the Marine Corps during

the hearings.


32 U.S Congress, Senate, 279.


33 Mersky, 107.


34 Dougherty, 18.


35 FMFM 5-1, Organization and Function of Marine Aviation (Washington, DC:

Department of the Navy, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, October 1991), 3-3.


36 JCS Pub 1, 153.


37 JCS Pub 1, i. JCS Pub 1 "is prepared by the Joint Military Terminology Group

under the direction of the JCS....The Secretary of Defense, by DOD Directive 5000.9, 23

March 1981, `Standardization of Military Terminology,' has directed its use throughout the

DOD to insure uniformity in the application and use of terms and definitions."


38 FMFM 6-1 (DRAFT), Marine Division (Washington, DC: Department of the

Navy, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, July 1994), 8-12. The division TACP

consists of one FAC qualified naval aviator/naval flight officer, one air support control

officer, and ten radio operators.


39 FMFRP 0-14, Marine Corps Supplement to the DOD Dictionary of Military and

Associated Terms (Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, Headquarters, United

States Marine Corps, April 1989), 2-1. FMFRP 0-14 defines the air officer as follows:

"At the battalion level, an officer who functions as chief advisor to the battalion

commander on all air operation matters. He also supervises the training and operation of

the two battalion forward air control parties."


40 Doerr and Blackburn interview.


41 Doerr and Blackburn interview.


42 HQMC message to MCCDC, subject: "MCBUL 5400 Redesignation of the

Landing Force Training Command/Atlantic (LFTCLANT) and Pacific (LFTCPAC),"

271146Z May 1994. The LFTCs formed the basis for the recently designated EWTGs.

There is one EWTG located at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Coronado, CA (Pacific)

and one at NAB Little Creek, VA (Atlantic). The mission of the EWTGs is to develop

and instruct the principles of expeditionary warfare.


43 Maj Ronald Snowden, USMC, former TACP course manager at LFTCLANT,

unpublished briefing paper presented at FAC/AO conference at Marine Corps Base Camp

Lejeune, NC, subject: "TACP: Course Curriculum Overview," 16-17 February 1989.


44 Col Robert D. Heinl, Jr., USMC (Ret.), The Marine Officer's Guide (Annapolis:

Naval Institute Press, 1977), 4.


45 Ms. G. W. Ramsden, Curriculum Analysis Officer, TBS, telephone interview with

author, 4 April 1995.


46 Heinl, 261.


47 U.S Congress, Senate, 303.


48 VAdm Malcolm W. Cagle, USN (Ret.), The Naval Aviation Guide, 4th Edition,

ed. Captain Richard C. Knott, USN (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1988), 55.


49 LtCol W. A. Sanderson, Head, Aviation Standards Branch, Training & Education

at Marine Corps Combat Development Command, interview by author, 27, 28 February



50 HQMC, MCO 1301.25A, "Assignment of Aviation Officers," 11 June 1990.


51 HQMC, MCO 5320.12C, "Staffing Precedences for Officer and Enlisted Billets,"

27 May 1994.


52 Walsh interview.


53 HQMC message to major subordinate commands, subject: "Assignment of

Aviation Officers to Duty as FACs/AOs," 230354Z October 1989.


54 Walsh interview.


55 Head, ASM Branch, HQMC letter to Commanding Officer, 2nd ANGLICO,

subject: "Forward Air Controller (FAC) Certification," 12 June 1992. Citing the previous

"unblemished" record of many fine FCT officers, the ANGLICO community became

interested in gaining official sanctioning and approval for their Universal Controller (UC)

concept. At the time of submission, the UC was an FCT officer granted temporary

authority to control CAS for specific periods of time by HQMC. The community sought a

permanent change to Marine Corps and joint doctrine. Remaining consistent with policy,

HQMC denied the rest for ANGLICO units to FAC certify their FCTOs.


56 Major John X. Habel, action officer, ASM at HQMC, interviewed by author, 5

April 1995.


57 Majors Henry C. Dewey and John X. Habel, action officers, ASM at HQMC,

interviewed by author, 6 March 1995.


58 HQMC, decision memorandum, subject: "Establishment of a Tactical Terminal Air

Controller (TTAC) Program," 27 June 1990. Following abbreviated formal instruction

from the EWTGs (5 days), TTACs were to integrate their follow-on currency training into

their battalion's regular training plan; essentially train along with the other TACP

members. Operation Desert Shield/Storm accounted for the excessive delay from

proposal initiation to termination.


59 HQMC, position paper, subject: "Tactical Terminal Air Controller (TTAC)

Program," 10 Apr 1992. Termination date of 20 August 1992 issued.


60 First Marine Expeditionary Brigade message to HQMC, subject: "TACP

Instruction," 060425Z January 1990. "1. At MCAGCC scheduling conference, TACP

instruction for company grade non-aviators was agenda item. For future CAXs,

MCAGCC plans to encourage use of non-aviator company grade officers controlling close

air support missions. One prerequisite is formal training at TACP school."


61 HQMC, point paper, subject: "Terminal Controllers Initiative," 28 February 1990.


62 Walsh interview.


63 Walsh interview.


64 Trotti, 5. WTIs complete a comprehensive course in advanced aviation tactics and

planning. Prereqisite for FA-18 Hornet pilots to receive the WTI MOS is completion of

the U.S. Navy's Top Gun fighter weapons school (or equivalent).


65 Maj David H. Berger, USMC, former instructor at MAWTS-1, and MAJ Michael

Nagata, USA, Special Forces Officer, interviewed by author, 24 March 1995 and 19

January 1995, respectively. All Marine reconnaissance and Army special operations forces

units train in the procedures for controlling CAS. In the usual scenario, the units plan for

their targets to be on or near their own positions. Additionally, most units travel without

the benefits and burdens of an extra specialist: the FAC. The basic skills required to

perform FAC duties do not necessarily come from an aviation background. They are

procedural methods that most combat arms personnel could learn. On a case available

basis, Marine ground combat arms personnel attend TACP school but do not receive the

secondary FAC MOS.


66 Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic 3rd endorsement on

Commanding Officer, 2nd ANGLICO letter dated 17 October 1991, subject: "Forward

Air Controller (FAC) Certification," 21 April 1992. "During FY 92, 2nd ANGLICO will

deploy detachments with three MEU(SOC)s, one UNITAS, for four spotting exercises

and combined arms exercises, ten exercises with U.S. Army commands and two NATO

exercises....This shortage, coupled with a demanding operational tempo, identifies the

requirement to qualify more certified FACs within 2nd ANGLICO."


67 DC/S for Aviation Comment letter, subject, "ANGLICO Universal Spotter

Concept and Non-Aviator Control of CAS," 14 May 1986.


68 Capt Bradley C. Lapiska, USMC, "The Education of a Naval Aviator," Marine

Corps Gazette, May 1987, 26.





Berger, David H. Maj, USMC. Infantry/reconnaissance officer and student at USMC

Command & Staff College, MCCDC, Quantico, VA. Interview by author, 24 March



Blackburn, William H. Former USMC captain and FAC/AO with 1st Marine Division.

Telephone interview by author, 11 March 1995.


Boomer, Walter E., LtGen, USMC. "Conventional Operations as Sea-based Forces." In

Perspectives on Warfighting, No.2, Vol 1, Quantico, VA: Marine Corps University, 1992.


Cagle, Malcolm W., VAdm, USN, (Ret.). The Naval Aviation Guide, 4th Edition. Edited

by Captain Richard C. Knott, USN. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1988.


Central Treaty Organization Conference. Air Sport of Ground Forces Conference

Proceedings, 14-17 June 1966. Beirut, Lebanon: Catholic Press, 1966.


Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. Letter (3rd endorsement) to HQMC

on Commanding Officer, 2nd ANGLICO letter dated 17 October 1991. Subject:

"Forward Air Controller (FAC) Certification." 21 April 1992.


Davis, Jon M., Maj, USMC. Former MAWTS-1 instructor; currently student at USMC

Command & Staff College, MCCDC, Quantico, VA. Interview by author, 3 March 1995.


DC/S for Marine aviation comment Subject: "ANGLICO Universal Spotter Concept and

Non-Aviator Control of CAS." 14 May 1986.


DeChant, John A., Col, USMCR. The Modern United States Marine Corps. Princeton:

D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc., 1966.


Dewey, Henry C., Maj, USMC, and Habel, John X., Maj, USMC. Action officers at

Aviation Manpower and Support, HQMC. Interview by author, 6 March 1995.


Doerr, Douglas R., Maj, USMC. Former FAC/AO with 2nd Marine Division; currently

rotary-wing task analyst, Aviation Standards Branch, Training & Education Division,

MCCDC, Quantico, VA Interview by author, 11 March 1995.


Dougherty, Charles R., Colonel, USAF. History of the Forward Air Controller (USAF),

Unpublished thesis. Maxwell AFB, AL: Air War College, Air University, May 1970.


First Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Message to HQMC. Subject: "TACP Instruction."

060425Z January 1990.


Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication (FMFRM) 0-14, Marine Corps Supplement to

the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Washington, DC: Department of

the Navy, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. April 1989.


Fleet Marine Force Manual (FMFM) 1-2, The Role of the Marine Corps in the National

Defense. Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, Headquarters, United States

Marine Corps. June 1991.


FMFRP 2-12, Marine Air-Ground Task Force: A Global Capability. Washington, DC:

Department of the Navy, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. April 1991.


FMFM 5-1, Organization and Function of Marine Aviation. Washington, DC:

Department of the Navy, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. October 1991.


FMFM 6-1 (DRAFT.), Marine Division. Washington, DC: Department of the Navy,

Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. July 1994.


Habel, John X., Maj, USMC Action officer at Aviation Manpower and Support, HQMC.

Interview by author, 5 April 1995.


Head, Aviation Manpower and Support Branch, HQMC, decision paper. Subject:

"Establishment of a Tactical Terminal Air Controller (TTAC) Program" 22 January



Head, Aviation Manpower and Support Branch, HQMC. Letter to Commanding Officer,

2nd ANGLICO. Subject: "Forward Air Controller (FAC) Certification." 12 June 1992.


Heinl, Robert D., Jr., Col, USMC, (Ret.). The Marine Officer's Guide. Annapolis, MD:

Naval Institute Press, 1977.


HQMC. Message to major subordinate commands. Subject: "Assignment of Aviation

Officers to Duty as FACs/AOs." 230354Z October 1989.


HQMC, point paper. (O&T) 3000. Subject: "Terminal Controllers Initiative."

28 February 1990.


HQMC, decision memorandum. Subject: "Establishment of a Tactical Terminal Air

Controller (TTAC) Program." 27 June 1990.


HQMC, point paper. Subject: "Tactical Terminal Air Controller (TTAC) Program." 10

April 1992.


HQMC. Message to MCCDC. Subject: "MCBUL 5400 Redesignation of the Landing

Force Training Command/Atlantic (LFFCLANT) and Pacific (LFTCPAC)." 271146Z

May 1994.


Johnson, Edward C., LtCol, USMC. Marine Corps Aviation: The Early Years

1912-1940. Ed. Graham A. Cosmas. Washington, DC: GPO, 1977.


Joint Chiefs of Staff Publication 1, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and

Associated Terms. Washington, D.C., GPO, June 1987.


Lapiska, Bradley C., Capt, USMC. "The Education of a Naval Aviator." Marine Corps

Gazette, May 1987, 26.


MARINE CORPS ORDER(MCO) 1301.25A Subject: "Assignment of Aviation Officers

to Duty as Forward Air Controllers (FACs)." 11 June 1990.


MCO 5320. 12C. Subject: "Staffing Precedences for Officer and Enlisted Billets." 27 May



Mersky, Peter B. US. Marine Corps Aviation: 1912 to the Present. Annapolis: The

Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of America, 1983.


Moskin, J. Robert. The US. Marine Corps. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1987.


Nagata, Michael, MAJ, USA Special Forces officer and student at USMC Command &

Staff College, MCCDC, Quantico, VA. Interview by author, 19 January 1995.


Ramsden, G. W. Curriculum Analysis Officer at TBS, MCCDC, Quantico, VA.

Telephone interview by author, 4 April 1995.


Rummel, Jack. Know Your Government (Series): The US. Marine Corps. New York:

Chelsea House Publications, 1990.


Sanderson, W.A., LtCol, USMC. Head, Aviation Standards Branch, Training &

Education Division, MCCDC, Quantico, VA. Interview by author, 27, 28 February 1995.


Sherrod, Robert. History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, 2nd Edition. San

Rafael, CA: Presidio Press, 1980.


Smith, Keith A., LtGen, USMC. "The Posture of Marine Aviation in FY88-FY89"

Marine Corps Gazette, May 1987, 47.


Snowden, Ronald, Maj, USMC. Former TACP course manager at LFTCLANT.

Unpublished briefing paper presented at FAC/AO conference, MCB Camp Lejeune, NC.

Subject: "Tactical Air Control Party." 16-17 February 1989.


TACP Training and Readiness (T&R) Conference. TACP T&R Conference Report, 4-8

October 1993. Quantico, VA: MCCDC, February 1994.


Trotti, John. Marine Air: First to Fight. Novato, CA: Presidio Press. 1985.


U.S. Congress. Special Subcommittee on Close Air Support of the Preparedness

Investigating Subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services, Report on Close Air

Support, Senate. 92nd Cong., 1st sess., 1971. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1972.


U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Paper. ...From the Sea. Washington, DC: Department of

the Navy and Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. 1992.


Walsh, J. Scott, Capt, USMC. Company grade fixed-wing monitor at Aviation Manpower,

HQMC. Interview by author, 6 March 1995.


Willock, Roger, Col, USMCR. Unaccustomed to Fear. Quantico, VA: The Marine Corps

Association. 1983


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