DELAMERE AIR WEAPONS RANGE, Australia --
In the middle of the outback, where red dirt, trees and termite mounds rule, there is a place approximately two and a half hours from civilization called Delamere Air Weapons Range. This place is home to the few brave men stationed there and those who dare to visit.
5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, 3rd Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Supporting Arms Liaison Team Fox, conducted training with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, Marine Aircraft Group 12 , during flight training operations as part of Exercise Southern Frontier 2012, July 20 through 24.
Southern Frontier is an annual exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force allowing MAG-12 F/A-18 squadrons the opportunity to focus on offensive-air support training in order to improve squadron readiness.
“We’re really supporting each other during this exercise,” said Sgt. Stephen M. Inman, a Joint Terminal Attack Controller and 5th ANGLICO, 3rd Brigade, SALT Fox chief. “This is a great opportunity for us to train our personnel and give them hands-on real time exposure to the gear I train them on but they don’t get to see utilized.”
Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, also joined the exercise by incorporating mortar support.
“We are providing simulated suppression of enemy air defense missions with live illumination marks on the deck,” said 2nd Lt. Stefan Gliwa, Weapons platoon commander, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. “This allows (forward air controllers) and JTACs-in-training to help aircraft correlate on the proper target and allows training for the pilots in the air in working with active gun-target-lines and deconfliction between fires on the ground and fires from the air.”
Each element had different qualifications to work through, but with proper coordination, they were able to support each other to obtain the training they needed.
“It was a pretty unique and awesome opportunity to be able to integrate Marine Hornets, ANGLICO and Fox Company, 2/3, with mortars on Delamere range in Australia,” said Lt. Col. Travis S. Kelley, VMFA-232 commanding officer. “They absolutely helped us with our training and their involvement created a more realistic close-air support scenario. It’s critical that we use this opportunity to meet up and accomplish some much-needed training in this particular region of the Pacific.”
The three elements made a small imprint on the many acres of the range. In a few nights, the gusts of wind which grace the area will cover the footprints and it will be as if no one had been there. The outback will sit, waiting in desolate solitude, until the next training evolution.l