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The cockpit of an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Full Mission Simulator accurately replicates all sensors and weapons to provide a realistic mission rehearsal and training environment. (Courtesy Asset/Released)

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Standardization, evaluation tests 2nd MAW squadrons for combat readiness

8 Feb 2016 | Sgt. Grace L. Waladkewics 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Marines are known for their readiness in the air, on land and at sea, in order to maintain this constant state of readiness, the Marine Corps relies on its subject matter experts to participate in programs like the Flight and Combat Leadership Standardization and Evaluation Programs.

The training involved in the FLSE and CLSE programs includes attending the Squadron Intelligence Training and Certification Couse. The course, which is held at 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and has certified more than 300 Marines, is designed to teach Marines how to better support aviation intelligence. Through the course, Marines become certified in accordance with the Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation requirements and the Intelligence Training and Readiness Manual.

The FLSE program is made up of pilots and enlisted aircrew and the CLSE program is comprised of non-aviators, including command and control, aviation intelligence and aviation ground support.

According to Barry Fetzer, the deputy director of 2nd MAW Aviation Training Systems, the goal of the Flight and Combat Leadership Program is to provide the structure and resources necessary for standardized training and evaluation of aviation leaders.  This program is a foundation of  the Marine Corps aviation vision of a single, integrated aviation training system.  Additionally, the program ensures that aviation units are abiding by the guidelines outlined by the Deputy Commandant for Aviation through the tactics, techniques and procedures they practice.


The Aviation Training System is intended to provide operational commanders with a current, responsive, relevant and holistic training system, increase standardization within the Marine aviation communities, develop concurrency management processes to ensure that the curriculum courseware and training devices being used remain relevant, address training and safety issues and utilize Marine Aviation Training System Sites to facilitate training programs.

“The ATS integrates processes and programs for training that institutionalizes operational excellence across Marine aviation,” said Maj. Audie Cooper, the aviation intelligence combat leadership standardization evaluator with 2nd MAW. “Operational excellence involves increased combat readiness and preservation of personnel and assets as well as risk mitigation through reduction of mishap causal factors from supervisory, procedural and human error.”

The program allows less experienced flight and combat leaders to gain insight and knowledge from, and be evaluated by technical and tactical experts in their field, explained Fetzer.

“The program is so important to our overall readiness,” said Fetzer. “We maintain a high standard and use the team approach. If it is done well by the experts, it is going to be very successful when it is put into practice by everyone else.”

According to Gunnery Sgt. Randy Cardon, the aviation ground support combat leadership standardization evaluator with 2nd MAW, the program allows evaluators to thoroughly test for the full capabilities of a squadron in a combat environment by putting them through rigorous scenarios and giving them both positive and negative feedback to ensure they are combat ready.

 “The program allows me to give the commanding general a thorough assessment of how his squadrons can operate in a combat environment,” explained Cardon.

The members of the 2nd MAW standardization and evaluation cell manage the standardization and evaluation process at each of the 2nd MAW air stations to include: MCAS Beaufort, MCAS Cherry Point and MCAS New River.

 According to Cardon, the program benefits the Marine Corps as a whole by ensuring that the Marines can integrate effectively in combat situations with other units.


“When we have a standardized way of doing things like training, planning and briefing, we can send evaluators out to squadrons to look and give them feedback on their plan, confirmation briefs and executions,” said Cardon. “If we do that for every unit across the Marine Corps they are going to have a reason to challenge themselves. They are going to get better as a whole and they are going to strive for perfection.”

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing