The SNIPERs of VMFT-401 departed MCAS Beaufort this after to return home to MCAS Yuma. Over the last few weeks, they’ve supported MAG-31 at Beaufort as pilots from VMFA-122, VMFA(AW)-224, and VMFA-312 went through the Marine Division Tactics Course. In addition to VMFT-401, F-16s from the USAF’s 64th AGRS using the callsigns MIG and IVAN have taken part over the last week, flying out of the Savannah CRTC. Here are two Marine Corps news stories that describe what we’ve been hearing the last few weeks:
Brilliance in the basics
6/14/2012 By Lance Cpl. John Wilkes , Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
MCAS BEAUFORT, S.C. — The Marine Division Tactics Course began June 4 aboard the Air Station. The course provides F/A- 18 Hornet aircrew and Marine air intercept controllers with groundside and airborne instruction in doctrine, tactics and weapons considerations for the successful use of Marine fighter attack aircraft in combat.One Marine from VMFA- 122, four from Marine All- Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, and one from VMFA-312 are taking part in the course.
“[Marine Division Tactics Course] consists of four blocks; the first is academic, the second is the basic fighter maneuvering phase, the third is the section phase and the fourth is the division phase,” said Maj. Jeremy Siegel, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 operations officer.
During the first week of the MDTC, pilots participate in practical application of weapon systems, radar, surveillance and detailed capabilities of F/A-18s, as well as, simulated opposing aircraft.
For the remaining three weeks, pilots fly sorties in which they practice basic fighter and engagement maneuvers with differing number of allies and adversaries, including simulated missions where pilots face an unknown number of adversaries.
The course concludes with the graduation strike flight, which is an event designed to test pilots on everything they have learned throughout the course.
During the MDTC, pilots must know not only their own aircraft, but those flying against them, said Siegel. Aircraft including the more maneuverable F-5N Tiger II, and the faster F-16C Fighting Falcon will challenge the F/A-18s and pilots of the Air Station.
“MDTC is designed to provide requisite air-to air training prior to attending Weapons and Tactics Instructor course,” said 1st Lt. Jennifer Silvers, maintenance officer with VMFA-122.
According to Capt. Joe Freshour, F/A-18 Hornet instructor with Marine Aviation and Weapons Tactics Squadron 1, the course is considered to be the Marine Corps equivalent to United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, or more commonly known as TOPGUN.
“Throughout the course students are encouraged by instructors to pay very close attention to detail and learn everything they can,” said Freshour. “Establishing a standard for all pilots is important—There is brilliance in the basics.”
Training squadron on deck for Marine Division Tactics Course
6/22/2012 By Lance Cpl. John Wilkes , Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 will be aboard the Air Station for approximately three weeks in support of Marine Aircraft Group 31 and Marine Aviation and Weapons Tactics Squadron 1. MCAS BEAUFORT, S.C. — The squadron provides air-to-air combat instruction to Fleet Marine Forces and squadrons by replicating enemy aircraft tactics, said Maj. Eddie Jessen, VMFT-401 detachment officer-in-charge. It is the only adversary squadron in the Marine Corps.“VMFT-401 comes to the Air Station a minimum of twice a year from Yuma, Ariz., in support of MAG- 31, however the main focus of this detachment is to support the Marine Division Tactics Course held by MAWTS-1,” said Jessen.MDTC is a graduate level course that provides F/A-18 Hornet aircrew and Marine air intercept controllers with ground and airborne instruction in doctrine, tactics and weapons considerations for the successful use of Marine fighter attack aircraft in combat.
Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401’s air crew will support approximately three missions per day. Two will be for the MDTC and one in support of MAG-31.
The squadron utilizes the F-5N Tiger II aircraft. The small, maneuverable aircraft presents a unique challenge for the bulkier F/A-18 Hornet during combat simulations.
The aircraft are painted to resemble Cold War- Era Soviet aircraft including the prominently displayed red star on the vertical staff. Eleven of the squadron’s 12 aircraft are currently aboard the Air Station.
“We always look forward to coming here,” said Jessen. “This is our job and we love what we do.”
Here’s a rundown of some of the most frequently used frequencies during the Marine Division Training Course activity:
284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
376.900 – W-157 Discrete
349.800 – W-157 Discrete
290.000 – MAG-31 air-to-air (VMFA-251 Tac 1)
376.425 – MAG-31 air-to-air (VMFA-251 Tac 3)
LATCH – MAG-31 flights (F/A-18)
SALEM – MAG-31 flights (F/A-18)
354.400 – VMFT-401 Base (old VFA-86 Tac)
308.925 – VMFT-401 air-to-air (old VFA-86 Tac)
277.200 – VMFT-401 air-to-air (old VFA-82 Tac)
261.600 – VMFT-401 air-to-air
SNIPER – VMFT-401 flights (F-5)
237.000 – Savannah CRTC Ops, 64th AGRS Ops
140.500 – Savannah CRTC, MIG flight air-to-air
141.150 – Savannah CRTC, IVAN flight air-to-air
MIG – 64th AGRS (F-16)
IVAN – 64th AGRS (F-16)