ANDERSEN AFB, Guam - Squadrons with Marine Aircraft Group 12 conducted an air-to-air combat simulation Dec. 6 above Farallon de Medinilla in the Northern Mariana Islands during Exercise Forager Fury II .
The squadrons are currently deployed to Guam for FFII, which allows MAG-12 to improve aviation combat readiness and will simulate operations in a deployed, expeditionary environment.
The participating squadrons were: Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2, MAG-14; Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 112, MAG-41; VMFA-232, MAG-11; Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, all currently assigned to MAG-12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“This was an opportunity to operate as a MAG,” said Lt. Col. David Boland, executive officer of VMFA-112, “The Cowboys”. “Most of the time when we are attached to the MAG, we are three or four different entities that do our own individual training inside our squadrons, we don’t necessarily train as part of the MAG. This gave us the opportunity to come together.”
The pilots of VMFA-112, VMFA-242, and VMAQ-2 acted as the opposing forces while VMFA-232 acted as the defense for the island. The mission of the opposing forces was to successfully strike a predetermined target without being shot down by the defense.
Both sides used U.S. tactics making it particularly difficult for each side to complete their mission.
“It gave us the opportunity to execute the tactics we know and see how well it works against, what would probably be the worst-case scenario, which is us fighting us,” said Capt. Timothy J. Fareg, pilot training officer with VMFA-232, “The Red Devils”. “It was very eye-opening to see how our tactics worked well against us.”
While fighting against their own strategies, the offense was still able to successfully eliminate their target.
“It’s great that the opposing forces were able to strike their target because it proves that, even against the strongest defense they could face, they were still able to succeed in their mission,” said Fareg.
With more than 20 aircraft flying, it was a rare experience for the pilots.
“We don’t get to use so many aircraft that often, normally the most that we have is four against four, so it’s a very unique type of environment that we get to train and execute in, which we wouldn’t get the chance to do otherwise,” said Capt. Syeda Rashid, weapons sensor officer with VMFA-242, “The Bats”.
Throughout FFII, squadrons are planning to do more air-to-air combat simulations together as a MAG.
“Things like this are the reason MAG-12 is out here doing this exercise,” said Boland. “The goal of Forager Fury II is to combine all the assets into one as if we were going to war.