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A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom aircraft assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) conducts an urban close air support exercise in support of Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 2-19 at Yodaville, Yuma, Arizona, April 4, 2019. WTI is a seven-week training event hosted by MAWTS-1, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. WTI also provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine aviation training and readiness, and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Claudia Nix)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Claudia Nix

3rd MAW forges the future of distributed operations

21 Sep 2020 | 1st Lt. Wesley Medeiros 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

With flights scheduled to commence later this week, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) aircraft and personnel position across five separate military installations along the Pacific coastline, preparing to conduct distributed operations during Weapons and Tactics Instructor course (WTI) and Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) 1-21.

As part of the greater Service Level Training Exercise Program (SLTE-P), 3rd MAW will deploy nearly 80 aircraft across both California and Arizona, creating more than 1,200 miles of operational dispersion during ITX and WTI.

“We are going to continue to pave the way for force design in the Marine Corps,” said 3rd MAW Commanding General Maj. Gen. Christopher Mahoney. “ITX and WTI are critical to 3rd MAW readiness. They prepare our Marines for any future fight with our adversaries, while enhancing our ability to execute lethal operations across a distributed posture.”

A form of maneuver warfare, distributed operations create an advantage over adversarial forces through the deliberate use of separation and coordinated tactics, while allotting Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commanders the opportunity to employ Marines across a non-linear battlespace. Distributed operations are essential to the modernization of the Marine Corps, and usher in the evolving future of the operating environment.

“To compete in a 21st century, high-end fight, we will need a future fleet that optimizes the following operational attributes: first, distributed lethality and awareness; second, survivability in a high intensity conflict; third, adaptability for a complex world; fourth, ability to project power, control the seas and demonstrate presence; and fifth, capability to deliver precision effects at very long ranges,” said Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper, in his most recent address at the RAND Corporation.

Esper continued, “Finally, this future Navy and Marine Corps will employ novel concepts such as ‘Distributed Maritime Operations’ and ‘Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment,’ which will modernize the way we fight as they enable our future joint warfighting doctrine.”

Weapons and Tactics Instructor course is a seven-week period of instruction, hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., that incorporates Marine Corps planning and implementation of advanced air and ground tactics though a series of escalating evolutions in order to produce certified weapons and tactics instructors.

A combined arms live-fire and maneuver exercise, ITX is designed to meet training standards in
select mission essential tasks and designated supporting training and readiness events. During ITX, the tactical training exercise control group provides training and assessment of the technical aspects of tactical integration associated with MAGTF operations. Integrated Training Exercise is conducted at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.


 Access the following link to view imagery from ITX and WTI:

Air Assault Course
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joseph Nelson, team leader, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, patrols during Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) 2-20 on Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Feb. 4, 2020. ITX and Adversary Force Exercise are sub level events of Service Level Training Exercise (SLTE), that prepare U.S. and partner nation service members for the culminating event of SLTE called Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force Warfighting Exercise. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Colton Brownlee)

VMA-214 Support SLTE 2-20
A U.S. Marine AV-8B Harrier with Marine Attack Squadron 214 (VMA-214), Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, taxies to be refueled during Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, Calif., Feb. 12, 2020. ITX is the most comprehensive exercise conducted at MCAGCC and focuses on the tactical application of combined-arms maneuver and offensive and defensive operation during combat. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Corey A. Mathews)

3rd MAW Marines support SLTE in Twentynine Palms
U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jeremiah Wilcox, the flight line division chief with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, awaits passengers outside of a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during flight operations on Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, June 23, 2020. Aircraft with HMH-462 extracted Marines from a training area in Twentynine Palms while flying in support of Service Level Training Exercise 5-20. Wilcox is a native of Redding, California. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels)

U.S. Marines Conduct Extraction at Laguna Army Air Field
U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) conduct an extraction in support of Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 1-19 in Laguna Army Air Field, Yuma, Arizona, Oct. 3, 2018. WTI is a seven-week training event hosted by MAWTS-1 which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine air-ground task force. WTI provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine aviation training and readiness, and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Alexia Lythos)

Urban Close Air Support WTI 2-19
A U.S. Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom aircraft assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) conducts an urban close air support exercise in support of Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 2-19 at Yodaville, Yuma, Arizona, April 4, 2019. WTI is a seven-week training event hosted by MAWTS-1, which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. WTI also provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine aviation training and readiness, and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Claudia Nix)

Day Battle Drill Exercise WTI 2-19
U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallion aircraft assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) transport an M777 towed 155mm howitzer in support of a day battle drill exercise during Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course 2-19 at Fire Base Burt, Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range, California, April 6, 2019. WTI is a seven-week training event hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1), which emphasizes operational integration of the six functions of Marine Corps aviation in support of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. WTI also provides standardized advanced tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine aviation training and readiness, and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Claudia Nix)


For questions regarding this release, please contact the 3rd MAW Communication Strategy and Operations Office at 3rdmawmedia@usmc.mil


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