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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2024

5th ANGLICO Turns 20 This Year, Continues to Innovate for the Future

By 1st Lt. Michelle Lin, III MEF Information Group

III Marine Expeditionary Force’s liaison element will soon celebrate the 20th anniversary of its activation on Oct. 1, 2024.

5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, III Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, based on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, provides the Marine Air Ground Task Force Commander a liaison capability to plan, coordinate, employ, and conduct terminal control of fires in support of joint, allied, and coalition forces.

The history of ANGLICO dates to the establishment of the Joint Assault Signals Company during World War II. These companies specialized in combined arms, fire support, communication, and liaison capabilities in support of planning, coordinating, and conducting terminal control of fires.

JASCO comprised of specially trained members from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army who provided coordinated and controlled artillery, naval gunfire, and close air support for U.S. ground forces. JASCO units disbanded after the National Security Act of 1947 reorganized the U.S. Armed Forces.

The original ANGLICO units, 1st, and 2nd ANGLICO, continued to serve in combat throughout the Korean War and Vietnam War. Firepower Control Teams at the company level and Supporting Arms Liaison Teams at the battalion level consisted of personnel who could control fires for all supporting arms and maneuver units.

In 1999, all active-duty ANGLICO units deactivated. The Marine Liaison Elements assumed their duties and responsibilities. The two reserve ANGLICO units, 3d and 4th ANGLICO, stayed.

Recognizing the value for an organic unit to conduct liaison with allied or coalition forces, the Marine Corps reactivated all active-duty ANGLICOs.

On October 1, 2004, 5th ANGLICO was formally activated, marking a significant milestone in the lineage of ANGLICO units and amplifying the combined force’s capabilities. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, ANGLICO units were reformed to include Joint Fires Observers to respond to the threats of a modern battlefield.

“As the rest of the military continues to advance, 5th ANGLICO works with allied and coalition partners in an ever-evolving operational environment. In the past, 5th ANGLICO supported military campaigns that were part of the Global War on Terrorism. In the present, we continue to train with our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific, anticipating future operations to be conducted in the littorals, and strengthening our multi-domain awareness, maneuver, and integrated fires across a distributed maritime environment.” – Lt. Col. Matthew R. Ashton, commanding officer of 5th ANGLICO.

ANGLICO units consist of detachments that are comprised of forward air controller officers, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers, Joint Fires Observers, fire support Marines, and radio operators, leveraging the best Marines and specialties from air, artillery, and communications. The certifications of JTACs and JFOs who identify targets to call for joint fires is a modernization of the JASCO concept of controlling artillery, naval gunfire, and CAS in support of the ground force.

5th ANGLICO embraces emerging technology to ensure its teams maintain superiority on the battlefield for years to come. This year 5th ANGLICO is implementing small unmanned aerial system operators with JFO capability, refining the kill chain of land-based and maritime target acquisitioning and leading to a more advanced and lethal force.

The SUAS teams will operate the RQ-20 Puma unmanned aircraft system which provides surveillance and reconnaissance, and a unique capability for drone pilots to safely navigate the land, overcome obstacles, and shoot accurate fires faster. Projected advances in small unmanned aerial systems, and sensor technology with low profiles and tactical data links, will speed targeting cycles.

5th ANGLICO continues to uphold the JASCO legacy and is optimally postured to provide the greater stand-in force a capability to support joint and bilateral operations to defend allies and partners within the first island chain.