MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
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
“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
“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.
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.