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1st Lt. David Cox congratulates a graduate at the conclusion of Squadron Intelligence Training and Certification Course at Mid Atlantic Electronic Warfare Range, N.C., Feb. 12, 2016. To date, the course has certified more than 300 Marines enabling them to better integrate into the Marine Air-Ground Task Force. Cox is the officer in charge of the SITCC. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jason Jimenez/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Jason Jimenez

SITCC teaches language of aviation to Intelligence Marines

27 Feb 2016 | Cpl. Jason Jimenez Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

Intelligence Marines from across the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and 3rd MAW had the opportunity to become increasingly proficient in aviation operations during a Squadron Intelligence Training and Certification Course here, Feb. 1 - Feb. 25.

During the SITCC, thirty students of various ranks were introduced to multiple facets of Marine Corps aviation to familiarize themselves with aviation combat intelligence, as it plays a vital role in the success of an Aviation Wing during combat operations.

“Right now, there is a gap in training for intelligence Marines that are going to aviation units,” said 1st Lt. David Cox, the officer in charge for the course. “SITCC is the best thing to fill that gap, short of having a separate MOS for aviation intelligence Marines.”

To date, the course has certified more than 300 Marines enabling them to better integrate into the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.

“The course squeezes approximately eighteen months of on-the-job training into twenty training days,” said Cox.

Even experienced ground intelligence Marines that come to the air wing, have to start learning again because it is very different; a new warfare community, explained Cox.

“Throughout my career, I’ve had different jobs, but on the ground, we don’t really care if it’s rainy, cloudy or foggy— it doesn’t affect me kicking in the enemy’s door,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Brewster, intelligence chief with MAG-39 and SITCC student. “When it comes to aviation, you need to take that all into consideration because it affects the Aviation Combat Element.”

The ACE focuses on a different aspect of the enemy, according to Brewster.

The course combines classroom instruction as well as intense student intelligence evaluation and briefing requirements followed by practical application events in direct support of live aviation requirements. Topics included coverage of handling threats to the MAGTF, functions of Marine aviation, along with information on different types of aircraft.

“They have to learn a whole new language,” said Brewster. “They have a three month course in the schoolhouse, and in that curriculum, only one week is devoted to air intelligence – which is not enough to be basically proficient.”

The wing supports the ground and Intelligence supports the wing, so the more assistance Intelligence Marines give to the aviators, the better the aviators can support the ground units, explained Brewster.

“We are trying to get the SITCC course to be a formalized school so Aviation Intelligence Marines must come here right after basic training similar to Marine Combat Training,” explained Timothy D. Andres, intelligence coordinator for the Marine Aviation Training Standardization Squadron. “Some Intelligence Marines do not know what a MAW consists of, they don’t know what they don’t know and this course opens their eyes.”

The graduation held on Feb. 26, certified the thirty Marines as Aviation Intelligence Marines.

“SITCC is not just an Aviation Intelligence solution for a shortcoming in training… this is a MAGTF solution,” said Col. Robert Plevell, 2nd MAW intelligence officer.

They can now pass their knowledge on to other Marines and spread what they have learned to better support the MAGTF, according to Plevell.

 “Of course the students feel a bit challenged, but after the course is completed, they always say thank you for teaching us, we learned a lot,” said Andres.


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