KADENA AIR BASE, OKINAWA, Japan --
Marines with Marine Air Control Squadron 4 established a tactical air operations center here Oct. 24.
The mission of the TAOC was to support the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army during the quarterly Local Operational Readiness Exercise of the 18th Wing, U.S. Air Force, Oct. 26-28.
“The LORE affords all three services the opportunity to cross-train, hone joint integration and information exchange procedures, and maintain the high standards of the air defense and air control communities,” said Maj. Anthony J. Rayome, operations officer with MACS-4, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The squadron created the TAOC to include two tactical air operations modules, an AN/TPS-59 long-range surveillance radar, an air defense communications platform and the sector anti-air warfare facility.
“As an air defense and aviation command and control unit, the Marine Corps’ TAOC is fully capable of integrating with the Air Force’s 623rd Air Control Flight and the Army’s 1-1 Air Defense Artillery (Patriot),” said Rayome.
The TAOC combined the Marine Corps’ air controllers, Army Air Defense Artillery’s control officers and the Air Force’s air controllers to work together using the Marine aviation command and control equipment, said Rayome.
The exercise gave Marines the opportunity to work with their military counterparts and promote better cohesion between the different units, said Lance Cpl. Charles J. Cieply, an aviation electronics control operator with the squadron.
“The tactical air operations center is leveraging its extensive data link communications capability to network together multiple surveillance and air defense radars throughout Okinawa to include the (airborne warning and control system), early warning radar and the Patriot radar sets,” said Rayome.
The Air Force and Army surveillance platforms, together with the air surveillance and theater ballistic missile detection capabilities of the Marines’ AN/TPS-59 radar, create an impressive integrated air defense system, said Rayome.
During the exercise, the Marine and Air Force controllers demonstrated joint interoperability by providing air control to multiple Air Force F-15s daily, said Rayome.
“In the past, the Marines of MACS-4 have never integrated into the LORE exercise as a whole,” said Master Sgt. Troy B. Williams, the TAOC detachment staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of MACS-4. “During this exercise, we (used) both our Marines and equipment, which makes this exercise a valuable experience.”