JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. —
Joint Base MDL service members kicked off the 2018 Marine Aircraft Group-49 Combined Arms Exercise here, June 12.
Fifteen total force units including active duty, guard and reserve members across 14 East Coast states from Massachusetts to Florida will be participating in the annual large-scale exercise utilizing ground forces, aviation assets, indirect fires and other enablers in an effort to train air and ground forces together.
“The exercise is focused on training all sister services together,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Randall White, MAG-49 MCAX coordinator. “We are maintaining and increasing readiness to become prepared to go where the military is needed and answer this nation’s call.”
Joint Base MDL is the nation’s only tri-service installation and home to all five branches, making it an ideal location for the MCAX. Day one included loading U.S. Marine Corps aircraft AH-1 SuperCobra and CH-53 Sea Stallion into a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III to deliver the Marine aircraft to the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing in New Orleans.
The operation required U.S. Airmen and Marines to work together as a team in order to load the two Marine aircraft onto the Air Force jet.
“This is what is going to set us apart from other military organizations,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Larissa Dorans, 6th Airlift Squadron executive officer and aircraft commander for the C-17. “Training with our sister services in joint operations allows us to become more proficient and capable so that when or if a conflict occurs, we are already prepared for any scenario.”
It is the hope of Joint Base MDL leaders that the MCAX will give all five U.S. military services on base a better understanding of how each branch plans, prepares and fights so that joint operations and overseas battles become more combat efficient.
“[The MCAX] is also increasing the comfort level of working in a joint environment which is how we are currently fighting overseas and how we will be training in the future,” said White.
Throughout the two week exercise, training will spread beyond the flightline with troops utilizing the massive Joint Base MDL range complex.
“Being able to work in the joint world and knowing who the players across the runway are is important to understanding what we are doing in order to do this large-scale exercise in conjunction with all the other exercises going on,” said White. “I think this will bear a lot of fruit in the future for us, all of the sister services working together here on [Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst].”