NEWS | Dec. 22, 2017

Marine Air Control Squadron-4 Gets Magical at Exercise Voodoo Magic

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Alexia Lythos, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing 1st Marine Aircraft Wing

IEJIMA ISLAND, Japan -- Marine Air Control Squadron 4 (MACS-4), Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, traveled to Iejima Island to conduct Marine Corps Air Traffic Control Mobile Team Mission Essential Tasks during exercise Voodoo Magic from December 4-15, 2017.

Voodoo Magic is a 12 day long exercise that allows the MMT’s to gain experience, practice constructing an airfield, and complete training and readiness requirements.

“MACS-4 showed great strengths in the abilities to rapidly establish air traffic control and set up communications architecture,” said 1st Lt. Chris Danforth, an air traffic control officer and native of Redmond, Wash. “They were able to set up appropriate marking patterns to receive various types of aircraft.”

MMT consists of six to eight Marines operating in a 72 hour environment by themselves without support. Capabilities such as this are used in either field environments where there isn’t an established airfield or when taking over one that’s already existing.

During combat, MMT makes it possible to establish an expeditionary runway to allow aircraft to land and refuel in order to keep the Marines in the fight without having to build permanent structures.

The Marines of MACS-4 were tasked with being able to take all their training and to employ that in an expeditionary environment to test their skills and capabilities.

“In all the prerequisites and everything required of them, MACS-4 accomplished everything,” said Danforth. “The training that they’ve done prior to this shows that they were prepared for it, and they showed true proficiency in all of their required skill sets.”

Every two years, each deployable unit in the Marine Corps' active duty component is required to conduct a qualification called the Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation. This is the first time MACS-4 has ever been evaluated.

“Some of these Marines have been in this [military occupational specialty] for 12 years or more, and they still study the 7110 air traffic control procedures,” said Danforth. “This exercise gives all the Marines out here the opportunity to prove their skillset, show their knowledge and be able to put foot to pavement to make things happen. I feel proud to be able to serve with them.”