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Senior leaders cut a ceremonial ribbon during a ribbon cutting ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., June 24, 2016. Marine Air Support Squadron 1 received a new, state-of-the-art facility to support several of its units, including the communications, electronics, headquarters and service, and air support company, as well as the unit’s supply section. The complex, which represents a new era of technology for the squadron and the Marine Corps, supports better quality training operations using a new battle lab capable of recreating realistic training missions with outside entities or other communications assets. MASS-1 is an aviation command and control unit responsible for the planning, receiving, coordination and processing of requests for direct or close air support. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. N.W. Huertas/Released)

Photo by Cpl. N.W. Huertas

New technology era envelops MASS-1

7 Jul 2016 | Cpl. N.W. Huertas Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point

Marines with Marine Air Support Squadron 1 gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the newest squadron complex June 24, here.

The new $27 million complex will house several MASS-1 units, including the communications, electronics, headquarters and service, and air support companies as well as the unit’s supply section. The facility represents a new era of technology for the squadron and was built to better equip the Marines to accomplish the technology training needed to support their mission. 

The squadron is an aviation command and control unit responsible for the planning, receiving, coordination and processing of requests for direct or close air support through the Direct Air Support Center. The DASC is the principle Marine air command and control system agency responsible for the direction of air operations supporting ground forces.

“The new MASS-1 complex was built with its own tactical training network and a 56-seat aviation command and control battle lab, exceeding even the capabilities of our weapons school at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One,” explained Lt. Col. Jeremy Winters, the commanding officer of the squadron. “From this location, we can conduct live, virtual and constructive training ranging from the squadron-level all the way up to the wing battle staff. This networked environment can also support continuity of operations for the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, Wing Operations Center if need be.”

The new facility allows MASS-1 Marines into a higher level of training as they further challenge themselves by adapting to advances in aviation communication. The facility supports all training aspects the squadron focuses on to ensure the readiness and precision of the unit.

“Walking into the new squadron building is an eye opener,” said Cpl. George Goking, an air support operations operator with the squadron. “Seeing the difference between the old facility and the new one makes you think of all the new possibilities. The old facility was smaller and did not have up-to-date communications assets to support our training. With the new facility, we can hold training simulations in the battle room with outside entities and different assets with better results and fully support our operations.”

According to Winters, everything about the facility is state-of-the-art. Office spaces are networked, well-appointed, and enhance personnel motivation and readiness.

The Marine Corps prides itself on its continuous adaptation of Marines training and proficiency throughout generations of war fighting.

“I'm most excited that these facilities allow us to reflect upon where we've been, and where we will go,” said Winters. “Simply put, this new facility makes us proud to be Chieftains, and honored with the Corps’ support.  Our new facility enables us to invigorate the future by connecting with our past, ensuring our Marines take the essence of our mission forward into the 21st century warfare.”

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