Close air support: ‘Quiet Professionals,’ Marines choreograph weapons of the sky in RIMPAC
By 2nd Lt. Jaclyn Pienkowski, RIMPAC Public Affairs
/ Published July 21, 2016
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii --
In the chaos of battle, the "Quiet Professionals" of Air Force Special Operations Command, the combat controllers, choreograph the actions of circling close air support aircraft.
Combat controllers with the 353rd Special Operations Group and Force Reconnaissance Marines with the III Marine Expeditionary Force exercised their joint terminal attack control skills and enhanced partnerships during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 exercise.
RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.
Through this exercise, Air Force and Marine specialists use the weapons of the sky to shape the battlefield.
"To be able to share our expertise in the field with our joint partners is an opportunity worth investing in," said Capt. John Rulien, 353rd SOG mission commander for RIMPAC.
Combat controllers and Force Reconnaissance Marines with III MEF called in target locations to the air support. Once each target was hit, they assessed damage to the enemy and its remaining capability.
"Ultimately, this makes us a more effective force and captures the versatility of the conventional and special operations force relationship we are trying to showcase here at RIMPAC," said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Joshua Winters, commander of 2nd Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, III MEF.
Twentysix nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.