MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. -- Ever since the experimentation of combined air and ground tactics into war fighting in 1927, the Marine Corps has continued to utilize and improve this style of fighting to take the advantage and push its way to victory in many different battles.
Marines with several different regiments, groups and squadrons in 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and I Marine Expeditionary Force sat through a conference to discuss tactics, techniques and procedures at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Nov. 29, to prepare for the scheduled deployment to Iraq in January.
"The conference was designed to assist at building a team between the ground combat element and aviation combat element for (Operation Iraqi Freedom)," said Col. Roy A. Arnold, assistant wing commander, 3rd MAW. "We are trying to provide background and practical information that air officers need in supporting the ground officers.
"We are also trying to ensure people know each other," Arnold added. "They will know who to go to if they have a question. This helps to establish a relationship."
The conference, hosted for officers of the air and ground combat elements, was the first of its kind in quite a while.
"The last time we deployed it was short notice," said Arnold. "Unfortunately, I don't think we had this opportunity and that is what makes it so special. This time we are able to have more deliberate planning, more time to build these relationships and focus more on the Marine Air Ground Task Force during this next rotation."
"Having these type of opportunities before we go to combat will help us be effective in that planning once we initiate into combat," Arnold added. "It just makes it easier to connect to the right people to be able to plan effectively."
The conference also covered concerns, mishaps and complacency that have occurred during past deployments.
"Our number one concern is people," said Col. Earl S. Wederbrook, deputy commander, 3rd MAW forward. "We are micro thin right now. Over there people don't show up and leave work at the same time. They work continuously and we cannot afford to lose any of them."
Although troop welfare was discussed, the conference's main task was to strengthen the relationship and communication between the two elements.
"The thing that is unique about the Marine Corps is its close ties between the ground and the air," said Arnold, a San Diego native. "We don't add air into an operation after its been planned by a ground commander. We plan for a warning order to ensure air is seamlessly integrated into the maneuvers."
The meeting between the commanders of the air and the ground gave room to tighten up procedures, keep people more alert to their surroundings and be more prepared for what's coming.
"We hope to do more deliberate planning. We hope to do more initiating the action, as opposed to responding to enemy action. We hope to operate a little bit faster and more in depth to keep the enemy off balance," concluded Arnold. "Our forces over in Iraq are operating perfectly now, but I think every time we deploy we need to try and set the bar a little higher and try to get better."