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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Pendleton air traffic control conducts Operation Legacy

By Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | October 30, 2012

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Sgt. Colin W. Gabriel, left, and Sgt. Zach M. Walker, right, air traffic controllers on the air station here, program the frequencies on a remote improvised explosive device during a field training exercise at Range 131 here Oct. 26.

Sgt. Colin W. Gabriel, left, and Sgt. Zach M. Walker, right, air traffic controllers on the air station here, program the frequencies on a remote improvised explosive device during a field training exercise at Range 131 here Oct. 26. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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An air traffic control Marine surveys the corner of B Street and First Avenue for insurgent activities during a field training exercise at Range 131 here Oct. 26.

An air traffic control Marine surveys the corner of B Street and First Avenue for insurgent activities during a field training exercise at Range 131 here Oct. 26. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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Weapons lean against the wall in the role-playing aggressors' command center during a field training exercise at Range 131 here Oct. 26.

Weapons lean against the wall in the role-playing aggressors' command center during a field training exercise at Range 131 here Oct. 26. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Trevon S. Peracca)


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CAMP PENDLETON, Calif, -- Simulated bullets fly through the air as air traffic control Marines conduct a field training exercise at Combat Town, Range 131 here Oct. 26.

Operation Legacy was designed to aid Marines in maintaining the necessary skills to be effective in combat. The training consisted of classroom instruction and practical application then concluded with a field mess night.

“It gave me a chance to have more responsibility as a lance corporal,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph J. Hernandez, an air traffic controller at the air station here. "I was apart of the planning and helping setup, I was in charge of  checking out the gear such as training improvised explosive devices, clothing and replicas." 

The exercise began with instruction on combat life-saving skills, weapons handling, military operations on urban terrain and land-navigation skills.

It was well planned and had great scenarios, said Lance Cpl. Edward R. Gutierrez, an air traffic controller at the air station here. Working in air traffic control does not present many opportunities for “boots-on-the-ground' type of training, so he was thrilled to participate.

Next, Marines patrolled throughout combat town while encountering a variety of situations. Troops on patrol came across simulated improvised explosive devices, role-playing villagers and aggressors, and several other scenarios. During the patrols, Marines spoke with locals seeking intelligence on nearby IEDs, weapons caches and insurgency activity.

The air traffic control unit has night and day crews that only have a chance to interact during a daily, five-minute shift change. This field training exercise allowed the whole unit to work together to complete the mission.

“During shift change is the only time we ever see each other in or out of work,” Gutierrez said. “For us to come out here and actually see how the other crews work and do training exercises together is great for the whole facility.”


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