Face of Defense: Marine Controller Sends Sky Support

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan — A Marine Corps pilot switched his work­place from the air to the ground to coor­di­nate sky-launched assaults against the ene­my here.

AV-8B Harrier aircraft with Marine Attack Squadron 513
Marine Corps Capt. Daniel Fiust, who’d flown AV-8B Har­ri­er air­craft with Marine Attack Squadron 513, now serves as a for­ward air con­troller in Hel­mand province, Afghanistan.
Marine Corps pho­to by Pfc. Sean Den­ni­son
Click to enlarge

Capt. Daniel Fiust had flown mis­sions with oth­er AV-8B Har­ri­er jet pilots assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 513. Now he’s help­ing to pro­vide close-air sup­port from the sky to Marines fight­ing on the ground. “We look at what type of sup­port the Marines need, and update our tac­tics based on what we’re see­ing of the ene­my from the air,” said Fiust, who hails from San Car­los, Calif.

In his role as air offi­cer and a for­ward air con­troller for 3rd Bat­tal­ion, 4th Marine Reg­i­ment, Fiust serves as the coor­di­na­tor between the bat­tal­ion and the fixed- and rotary-wing assets of 2nd Marine Air­craft Wing (For­ward). A bat­tal­ion air offi­cer serves as a liai­son for avi­a­tion squadrons sup­port­ing ground Marines, direct­ing and dis­pers­ing air assets across the battalion’s area of oper­a­tions.

Fiust said he’s respon­si­ble for coor­di­nat­ing flight times and routes for dozens of com­bat air­craft ded­i­cat­ed to pro­tect­ing Marines on the ground.

“We inte­grate all func­tions of avi­a­tion with ground com­bat mis­sions,” he said. “Basi­cal­ly, any­thing aer­i­al, we have a role in.”

A vet­er­an of Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom, Fiust had spent more than three years with fly­ing squadrons, when he report­ed to the air officer’s course, part of Marine Avi­a­tion Weapons and Tac­tics Squadron 1’s Weapons and Tac­tics Instruc­tor course.

“I real­ly want­ed to work with infantry units,” Fiust explained. “As a [close-air sup­port] pilot, I want­ed to see what things were like on the ground and do my part to con­tribute.”

The air offi­cer is the senior for­ward air con­troller in a bat­tal­ion, super­vis­ing the unit’s for­ward air con­trollers and enlist­ed joint ter­mi­nal attack con­trollers, who patrol with their squads and pro­tect them by call­ing in airstrikes.

Fiust said he believes the rela­tion­ship between air offi­cers on the ground and the squadrons is an exam­ple of mil­i­tary team­work that saves lives.

And­his new respon­si­bil­i­ties on the ground pro­vide a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive about fight­ing the war, Fiust said.

“As a pilot, I some­times felt detached from the sit­u­a­tion,” he said. “As an air offi­cer, you’re more emo­tion­al­ly invest­ed.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →