Fire in the Sky: 5th ANGLICO owns the air

5 Mar 2008 | Cpl. GP Ingersoll

Capt. Nathan O. Morales knows his job well.

 "The mission of ANGLICO is to provide the MAGTF commander with a liaison capability with foreign area expertise in order to plan, coordinate and execute terminal control of air, surface and naval fires."

 In short, Morales and his team blow stuff up.

 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company recently deployed out of Okinawa, Japan, to the Republic of Korea to support Operation Foal Eagle as an integral part of Marine Corps combined arms.

 "As a JTAC (Joint Tactical Air Controller), we're the terminal controller for every fire support agency," said Morales, a firepower controller, Firepower Control Team 1, 5th ANGLICO. In laymen's terms, that means: "If you want to put someone in the horns of a dilemma, you're going to use one of those agencies."

 Those "agencies" consist of mortar fire, air strikes and/or naval or artillery shells. All those instruments are just a phone call away, and the men behind the microphones have no qualms or doubts about what they do.

 "It's a good feeling, you get a TIC (Team In enemy Contact) or something, and they're all looking at you, like, 'drop a bomb on those dudes,'" said Cpl. Thomas R. Scott, 23, Joliet, Illinois, the radio chief for Firepower Team 1.

 There are many risks though, because the job requires pinpoint accuracy. One misunderstanding riding those radio waves, and the results can be catastrophic.

 Precision is key, so that the mission goes without any fratricide, or blue on blue contact, said Morales, 31, San Antonio. Wind, pressure, speed and visibility are just some of the things the team factor into the equation.

 Morales said high-tech laser guiding systems and other technology aid solving that equation. When in doubt or technical difficulty, he and his team still know how to do the old fashioned method of maps and mathematics to take out the enemy.

 Morales said he couldn't do any of it without his capable Marines.

 "Knowing those Marines are backing me up, and then watching the bomb hit the target ... it's a pretty good feeling," concluded Morales.

 Maybe somewhere someone looks down upon the enemy with pity, because Firepower Team 1 looks down with a smile.