January 11, 2018 (by SMSgt. Paula Macomber) - Marines with the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 252 out of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, N.C., the oldest continually active squadron in the Marine Corps, along with their J-model C-130 arrived here in Reno on Wednesday, January 10th.
Maj. Joseph Jaquish, a pilot with the 192nd AS out of Nevada ANG. explains mountain flying to visiting Marine Corps pilots from VMGR-252 from MCAS Cherry Point, during the mission planning portion of the Advanced Mountain Airlift Tactics School (AMATS) training on January 10, 2018. [USAF photo by SMSgt. Paula Macomber]
They came to Reno to partake in Advanced Mountain Airlift Tactics School (AMATS) training with the 192nd Airlift Squadron "High Rollers" at the Nevada Air National Guard base.
This is the first time the High Rollers have hosted the Marine Corps for "joint" flight training with members of another service branch in the AMATS course. The 192nd provides the training to those units who want to come out and fly with them.
AMATS Instructor Pilot Maj. Joe Jaquish said, "Reno offers an exclusive training area that consists of a series of isolated mountain ranges and intervening valleys ranging from 4,000 – 11,000 feet. It also contains local drop zones (DZs) and landing zones (LZs) which are textbook for high desert and mountain training. The terrain closely correlates to that of some of the many countries to which the United States military deploys. The flying course focuses on teaching safe and effective mountain flying."
One of the visiting Marine Corps pilots, Capt. Nick Johnson, said that they have no specific training in the Marine Corps like this and that it serves multiple purposes, "We only fly in and around our base, and, being on the East coast, the terrain is nothing like when you deploy. The terrain around Reno is very similar to the countries we deploy to and it makes tactical sense to fly somewhere similar to the deployed locations."
AMATS is a two-phase C-130 flying syllabus designed to create tactical experts by instructing C-130 H and J-model aircrew in the advanced principles of planning and execution to safely and effectively employ in the high density altitude mountainous environment.
Two other visiting Marine Corps pilots, 1st Lts. Ian Penn and Mike Carps agreed that it's not only the flying that's great training, "This course offers hands-on mission planning that is not Marine Corps centric, the opportunity to train with the Air National Guard is fantastic because they do things a little differently than we do and that gives us a better understanding of the C-130's capabilities."
Johnson also stated that they just happened to hear about the course and feel very lucky to have been picked to attend. "We will take what lessons we learn here back to our squadron and hope to get other crews out to Reno for more training."
The 192nd Airlift Squadron's local flying course, AMATS, has been a valuable training course for pilots from the active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. The 192nd can now add Marine Corps pilots to their growing list of attendees.