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Red Line Marine Corps News
Story Date: 23 June, 2005; Submitted on: 06/29/2005 09:43:58 AM ; Story ID#: 200562994358
Author: Lance Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan
Unit: MCAS Cherry Point Red Line

Desert living builds Marine-Sailor camaraderie

Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina — As the call comes in, the joint Navy–Marine Corps team, located at the Forward Arming and Refueling Point [FARP], coordinates air assault support and close air support, requests medical evacuations, organizes refueling and prepares helicopters to continue their missions.

Marines from Marine Air Control Squadron–2, and Sailors from Tactical Air Control Squadron–21, Little Creek Amphibious Base, Virginia, prepared to deploy together with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit by training together in the desert at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, June 23, during Exercise Desert Talon.

“It’s been very eye–opening to see what the Marines actually do,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Andrew B. Hollie, the Sailor in charge of TACRON–21’s detachment. “This training is very important. Now, we know what the Marines do and how they do it. When they go ashore, we can actually help when they need us.”

The bond between the Sailors and Marines is unmistakable. Throughout Desert Talon, they worked together closely. They have spent nights camping out at the FARP, and waking up together with the ever–present heat of the Arizona desert.

“The FARP is usually 10 miles from the edge of the battlefield,” said 1st Lt. Mark Rosenthal, the officer–in–charge of the FARP. “We operate so the helicopters don’t have to fly all the way back to base to refuel, rearm and are back into the battle as quickly as possible.” After stressing the importance of the FARP, Rosenthal commented on how much his Marines and Sailors had learned while training together.

“When we first came out here, we couldn’t spell MMT (Marine Air Traffic Control Mobile Team),” said Rosenthal, with an air of confidence. “Now, we have two well–trained, functioning MMTs. The Navy has been awesome. We have taught them so much. For example, a six man team on foot now has the ability to create a 3,500 foot runway.”

The sense of camaraderie and brotherhood built between the Sailors and Marines during Desert Talon was evident in both the way they worked and played together.

After the last scheduled flights of the day, the two joint Navy–Marine Corps’ MMTs organized a “capture the flag” game, utilizing some newly acquired skills in the desert and getting in some good physical training by the light of the Arizona stars.

“This has prepared us for future operations,” said Rosenthal. “We have people who have never done anything like this before. It’s extremely important we have this opportunity. The realism in the training is evident from the sand to the heat and fatigue, and has better prepared us to deploy.”

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