Dragon Brigade hosts Marine operations tour
DAEGU GARRISON — Marines visiting Osan Air Base for the 2013 Ulchi Freedom Guardian Exercise going on this month were given a tour of the Battery D, 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment's location here, Aug. 13.
The Marines were from the Marine Air Support Squadron, based out of Japan, along with some from the Marine Air Control Group 18, which have representatives stationed on Osan Air Base but operate out of Okinawa and Japan.
The tour began at the 35th ADA’s operations center and showed the Marines how the Patriot missile unit communicates with its subordinate units, providing a common picture of potential airborne threats, allowing for rapid response and a coordinated effort from multiple locations.
“We came here to check out the Patriot missile system and see what they do to support the base,” said Marine Sgt. Joshua Bridges, a Marine aviation systems technician with the MASS. “We work with a lot of the same communications systems as the [Patriot systems]. This is a little more in depth; this is radar based and ours is mostly voice. We don't deal with explosives so that's a difference too.”
Bridges said it was interesting to see things from the Army side of service as both servies were preparing for the upcoming UFG exercise across the South Korean Peninsula.
“[This] past week MACG-18 has been conducting a [Marine Air Command and Control System Integrated Simulated Training Exercise] that typically goes before UFG and [the annual] Key Resolve [exercise] each year,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Steve Vogler, a warrant officer with the 35th Air Defense Artillery's Fire Direction Control center.
Multiple Marine units were spread across the region with several being placed on Osan Air Base, Vogler said.
“[The 35th ADA] has been arranging tours of various [operation sites] to build awareness of how other component air-ground systems, particularly from the Air Force and Army, operate and function,” Vogler said. “We are attempting to establish working relationships with various units here to maximize the potential for future joint training.”
This is a good opportunity to get out and see a different unit to see how they handle their section of the fight, said Marine 1st. Lt. Stephen Mercer, a Marine air support control operator with the MACG-18, assigned to Osan Air Base.
“Anything we do in the future is going to be a joint fight,” said Mercer. “Knowing how your brothers and sisters do it in the other services is very important to being effective.”