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NEWS | July 14, 2014

Marines Return from Exercise Red Flag Alaska

By Lance Cpl. Victor A. Arriaga Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

 More than 70 Marines with Marine Air Control Squadron 2 and Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 returned to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., July 1, after a month-long exercise in Alaska.

Red Flag Alaska is a U.S. Air Force sponsored, joint national capability exercise. The exercise, conducted by the 353rd Combat Training Squadron, is designed to improve joint and coalition air combat tactics, said Capt. Luther T. Watts, the officer-in-charge of the exercise.

“Red Flag Alaska provides our air control agency with a live-flight venue that has more aircraft during each event than we typically get during a Marine Corps exercise,” said Watts. “The exercise also gave Marines an opportunity to work with U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and Japan Air Self-Defense Force counterparts in order to develop inter-service communication skills that will allow us to function better as a team in combat.”

During the exercise, MACS-2 provided air surveillance, air control and information exchange.

“The Marines performed very well participating in an exercise we are not familiar with,” said Watts. “Every part of the exercise was a challenge and the Marines were able to work through them to accomplish the mission.”

Lance Cpl. Joshua Holden, a tactical air defense controller operator with MACS-2 said participating in the exercise was a great experience.

“It was a fantastic trip, even if it was only for a month,” he said of his first visit to Alaska. “I’ve never done something like this before.”

The Marines were able to practice movement and being self-sufficient in an unfamiliar environment.

“Going to Alaska gives us the ability to practice planning and the logistics of moving a detachment to an austere location and operate without the support of the rest of the MAGTF,” he said. “It is a great opportunity for company grade officers and junior staff noncommissioned officers to develop their leadership skills and operational proficiency.”

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