AL TAQADDUM, Iraq -- For the past three months, six Marines here have worked tirelessly in the base’s air boss shop as the link to the Tactical Air Command Center in Al Asad, Iraq.
The Marines all lend a hand in the day to day operations of the airfield and mission coordination for all types of scenarios.
“Our primary mission here is casualty evacuation,” said Lt. Col. Allan Jarvis, the Al Taqaddum air boss and Kennesaw, Ga., native. “With this base having its own level two medical facility, we are able to bring patients here or transport them to a higher level facility in Baghdad or Balad.”
Although CASEVAC missions take priority, the air boss shop has many other responsibilities.
“We monitor the execution of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing daily tasking order,” Jarvis said. “We handle direct asset assignment missions, to include organizing close air support for when troops come in contact with insurgent aggressors and assault support requests to move troops or cargo in and out of TQ.”
As a representative of the Tactical Air Command Center, the air boss also keeps the wing battle captain abreast of any issue that would affect flight operations in or out of the airfield. Weather conditions, aircraft maintenance issues and emergencies are all things the battle captain, who is in charge of coordinating all of the air assets for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, would need to know as he coordinates how to use the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s assets throughout the Al Anbar province.
“We have to keep them aware of all situations that are present on this base,” Jarvis said. “If we can’t support certain missions, the battle captain needs to know that so he can plan his missions around that.”
The air boss also works with Marine Air Control Squadron 2 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 371’s airfield operations section here to coordinate flightline activities around runway repairs and with any air traffic control issues that may arise.
“We work with MACS-2 and airfield ops on any force protection issues that come up, along with ways to make our airfield more efficient,” Jarvis said. “MWSS-371 always has a lot of projects on or around the airfield that we all need to be aware of so we can have a safe and efficient operation.”
The air boss office has five Marines, four of which who work on behalf of the air boss throughout the day and one who works on requests for any aircraft wanting to use the airfield that does not have prior permission.
“Any civilian aircraft and other services that are not attached to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing have to submit a request to use our airfield,” said Staff Sgt. Richard J. Maxie Jr., the flight clearance staff noncommissioned officer and Gibbstown, N.J., native. “We get request all the time for aircraft bringing in cargo and personnel to the base. This just gives us a way to track who they are and what exactly they are doing here. It keeps everybody on the same page.”
All of the air boss Marines are dedicated to helping Jarvis accomplish the tasks that need to be done 24 hours a day.
“We work 10 hour shifts and keep two people here at a time,” said Sgt. Nicholas Breidenger, the air boss chief, and Saginaw, Mich., native. “During casualty evacuation missions one person goes to the surgical and shock trauma platoon. He talks with the medical personnel to determine when and where patients need to be moved so we can coordinate a medical evacuation so the patient can be transferred as quickly as possible.”
The air boss Marines have coordinated 167 CASEVAC missions, transferring more than 270 patients in their three months here. Between CASEVAC missions for injured personnel or close air support for troops in contact, the air boss team here gets the job done.
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