TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA --
MARINE AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, California (April 7, 2021) – U.S. Marines and sailors participated in a Fire Support Coordination Exercise, April 5-7 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California during Service Level Training Exercise 3-21.
The units conducting the FSCEX from the Marine Corps’ 1st Marine Division and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
FSCEX is a live-fire training event integrating infantry battalion combat operations center functions, distributed artillery, mobile fire support teams, close air support assets, and electronic warfare support teams. The ground element received close air support from Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 269 throughout the exercise.
Tactical Training Exercise Control Group controllers, known as “coyotes,” facilitate and orchestrate training for MAGTFs up to the regiment level and focus on actions down to the individual Marine and sailor. “The gain for the unit overall is kind of 2-fold. Initially it's all about how to coordinate a conflict situation across all the warfighting functions.” Maj. Jonathon Wallace, fire support lead, TTECG, MAGTFTC, MCAGCC. “Not just fires but how does fire affect and what are the issues that we potentially have on the comms side of things that see to, really, overall structure?”
“What we’re doing in FSCEX is a lot of shooting and then moving quickly,” 2nd Lt. Josh Dinardo, a field artillery officer with 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.“Which is essentially how the artillery battery in the Marine Corps is moving in terms of tactics.”
3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division acted as a reinforcing artillery asset to the ground elements. It was to their advantage that the unit is native to MCAGCC in order for them to assist with navigation and operating within a desert climate. The reinforcement battalion was capable of destroying large targets at a great range while remaining distributed to have a smaller footprint on the battlefield.
“MCAGCC is the best training possible, because it is the closest environment that we can have to a combat scenario,” said Cpl. Mario Pineda, an M777 Howitzer section chief with 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment. “It’s free reign, starting from the platoon commanders, down to the sections chief, down to the individual’s choice.” In the COC, U.S. Marine leaders with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division supervise the communication lines between the FST, the close air support, the artillery and the EWSTs. Assuring that the enemy positions are destroyed.
“The observer will identify a target and then plot a grid, either by digital or by math method,” said 2nd Lt. Josh Dinardo, an artillery officer with 1st Battalion, 11th Marines. “Then they will send that grid either digitally to the FDC, fire direction center, the FDC will put that data into a grid and spin it up into fire commands for the guns.”
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