Air Force joins Marines at WTI 2-17

AUXILIARY AIRFIELD II, YUMA, Ariz. -- Marines with Battery B, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines conducted integrated training with the 436th Airlift Wing’s 3rd Airlift Squadron from Dover Air Force Base in support of Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron (MAWTS) 1 during the semiannual Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 2-17, at Auxiliary Airfield II, Yuma, Arizona, April 19.

Lasting seven weeks, WTI is a training evolution hosted by MAWTS-1 which provides standardized advanced and tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine aviation training and readiness.

The U.S. Air Force’s participation in WTI 2-17 provided the Marines and airmen a unique joint integrated training opportunity with the Air Force's 436th Airlift Wing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

“Typically we train along with other Air Force assets in Joint Forcible Entries (JFE),” said Air Force Capt. J. Ryan Nichol, 3d Airlift Squadron C-17 assistant flight commander. “This event afforded us the opportunity to work with our Marine counterparts. Our involvement with WTI was designed to maximize training and familiarity for all parties involved. We tested each other’s capabilities in a defensive counter air exercise, and capitalized on additional training events on the ground.”
The Marines trained with the Air Force air crew members to validate procedures of embarking a M777A2 Howitzer onto the C-17.

“This training provides the artillery community the opportunity to validate assumptions and address considerations toward embarkation for strategic airlift,” said Capt. William Dammin, commanding officer for Battery B, 1/10. “The joint integration enables the different branches of the military to learn about each other’s techniques and expectations of each other.”

In addition to loading the Howitzer, during certain portions of the exercise, the integrated students flew to the Auxiliary Airfield and conducted various tactical arrivals and were able to improve and increase familiarity working with Marine tactical controllers," according to Nichol.

The integrated presence of the Air Force at WTI 2-17 added value to the exercise, giving MAWTS-1 additional experience with the Air Force’s capabilities.

“The joint integration and fluidness of operations we witnessed, when most of my young crew had little to no interactions with Marines, was the biggest takeaway,” said Nichol. “The professionalism and excitement to work together from both services involved really contributed to the success of us training together and is an indicator of success in the future. WTI gave us a better understanding of each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures.”