KADENA AIR BASE, Japan --
Command-selected students from Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadrons 533, 225 and Marine Fighter Attack Squadrons 314 and 232 graduated from the Marine Division Tactics Course in a ceremony at the Officers Club here Tuesday.
MDTC is a graduate-level course for pilots and weapon systems operators to improve their efficiency in the air-to-air arena.
“Our students are already experienced pilots,” said Maj. Doug A. Seich, an MDTC Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One basic fighter maneuver instructor. “The pilots and weapon systems operators were selected because they meet the qualifications and requirements MDTC demands.”
The aviation students were division leader qualified by their commanding officers, as well as proficient in basic fighter maneuvers for one-versus-one and two-versus-two dog-fighting.
Qualified as division leaders, pilots have proven they are capable of leading up to four aircraft during a single mission.
Air Force F-15 Eagles with the 44th Fighter Squadron here and Airborne Tactical Advantage Company Hawker Hunters contracted out of Naval Base Atsugi flew as simulated enemy aggressors against the MDTC students to provide training during the duration of MDTC.
“There was a lot of red air in this course compared to flying with our squadrons,” said Capt. Dustin B. Cook, a VMFA(AW)-225 pilot. “It was challenging trying to make the best of a bad situation during some of the complex exercises we flew.”
The robust air package the course delivered was set up by many people.
“It was an impressive course,” Cook said. “A lot of assets went into making this happen. All of the students are appreciative of all the hard work that made this happen.”
The MWATS-1 instructors created a syllabus the aviation students stuck to throughout the four-week course.
The first week, the MWATS-1 instructors built upon the aviation student’s knowledge of airto- air engagements by teaching the pilots and weapon systems operators advanced air-to-air tactics.
The following three weeks tested the pilots and weapon systems operators with various exercises.
The exercises in MDTC are on a higher difficulty level for the aviation students than squadron- based training.
The aviation students learned advanced air-to-air combat skills, which they will be able to teach their respective squadrons.
“One of our goals as MAWTS-1 instructors is to teach these students how to instruct the young pilots and weapon systems operators in their respective squadrons about what was taught in the course,” said Maj. Christopher J. Boese, an MDTC MAWTS-1 WSO instructor.
The MDTC MAWTS-1 instructors who taught this course were Maj. Christopher J. Boese, Maj. Elika S. Bowmer, Maj. Benedict G. Buerke, Maj. Edmund B. Hipp, Maj. Roy J. Nicka, Maj. Douglas A. Seich, Maj. Kyle B. Shoop and Capt. Michael T. Conte.
The MDTC aviation students, Capt. Christopher P. Allain, a VMFA-232 pilot, Capt. Frank A. Machniak, a VMFA-314 pilot, Capt. Dustin B. Cook, a VMFA(AW)-225 pilot, Capt. David C. Dunsworth, a VMFA(AW)-225 weapon systems operator, Maj. Jayson M. Tiger and Capt. Clayton D. Gard III, VMFA(AW)-533 pilots and Maj. Neil A. Cordes and Capt. Scott W. Warman, VMFA(AW)-533 weapon systems operators, successfully completed the course.
MDTC is a stepping stone for the pilots and weapon systems operators by preparing them for aviation Weapons and Tactics Instructors’ course, which will further increase combat readiness.