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News | May 3, 2023

Task Force 51/5 Joint Terminal Attack Controllers increase capability with U.S. Coast Guard, Air Force and Navy partners

By Capt. Joseph Leitner Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade

Manama, Bahrain – Late last week Naval Amphibious Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Bridge (TF 51/5) Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) embarked on Bahrain-based U.S. Coast Guard fast-response cutters to conduct joint training with both U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force aircraft in the Northern Arabian Gulf. The training involved five U.S. Coast Guard vessels and a group of Marine JTACs who sharpened their tactical skills by controlling U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II and U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft.

“This was an excellent opportunity for all five crews to be shown the potential of joint maritime and air operations” said U.S. Coast Guard LT Sehng Hwang, Commanding Officer of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Clarence Sutphin, Jr. “It really allowed us all to see the specific lethal capability that something like the A-10 has, in tandem with capable and competent Marines and Sailors when deployed to the region”.

In addition to its steady-state mission of maintaining readiness as a crisis-response task force, Task Force 51/5 advances naval integration in support of the Tri-Service Maritime Strategy. Published jointly in 2020 by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Chief of Naval Operations, and Commandant of the Coast Guard, the Tri-Service Maritime Strategy outlines an integrated U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard approach towards supporting Department of Defense maritime prerogatives.

“Joint training like this only delivers greater flexibility and options for crisis response in this theater” said Brig. Gen. Matthew Reid, TF 51/5’s Commanding General. “As Marines, we are always looking for ways to support joint maritime efforts and, in this case, we were able to take things a step further by working with our Air Force partners. Altogether, this helps the Marine Corps better support regional security and demonstrates that we’re able to work together with joint partners to deter external threats”.

The training culminated on Friday with a live fire attack by U.S. Air Force A-10s onto sea targets, in conjunction with high-value target seizure, fast intruder attack craft, and visit, board search and seizure (VBSS) exercises conducted by embarked U.S. Coast Guard and Navy forces.

TF 51/5 is a Bahrain-based Joint Task Force-Capable (JTF-C) Headquarters that responds to crises and contingencies; coordinates, plans, and executes operations; conducts theater security cooperation; and advances emerging Naval concepts at sea, from the sea, and ashore in support of U.S. Central Command, Fifth Fleet and Marine Forces Central Command theater objectives.