Skip to comments.Liaison office links air, ground forces
Posted on 02/08/2006 4:21:37 PM PST by SandRat
/8/2006 - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- Ensuring that pilots and ground forces are aware of one anothers intentions, limitations and capabilities is a full-time job. That responsibility falls into the hands of three people assigned to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Ground Liaison Office, or GLO.
Comprised of one Airman and two Soldiers, the GLO provides a conduit of information between the Air Force and the ground combat units it supports.
We stay up-to-date on strategic and tactical operations and provide that information to the planners within the 332nd AEW, said Army Sgt. 1st Class Patrick McCormack, 332nd AEW ground liaison noncommissioned officer. We also serve as the Army commanding generals principal liaison on Logistical Support Area Anaconda with the Army units stationed here.
While there is not much formal training required to become a ground liaison, prior experience does play a role.
We attend the Joint Firepower Course at Nellis (Air Force Base, Nev.) and must have a solid background in battle staff operations, Sergeant McCormack said. Ninety percent of the job is applying the experience I have gained as an infantry platoon sergeant and as a tactics instructor.
The GLOs often have to deal with the different ways the branches of service are trained.
The ground commander has an intent, Sergeant McCormack said. He defines that intent in terminology and graphics that Soldiers have been trained to understand. However, pilots and Air Force planners are not always trained to use these terms or graphics so they cant decipher the intent. How effective can a plan be when the pilot, who is 20,000 feet over an objective, doesnt really understand what the intent is?
The GLOs provide pilots with the task, purpose and intent of the ground mission.
We ensure the pilots understand what is happening below them and why, so they can better execute their task. We provide a breakdown of the operation, if possible, by phases and contingency, Sergeant McCormack said. We can explain what they will see ahead of time so that theyre not surprised. We also explain the equipment and the capabilities of our combat forces on the ground.
This understanding and communication allows planners to be better informed when performing their jobs.
The GLOs represent the ground forces, said 1st Lt. Clark Tyler, an intelligence officer with the 332nd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron. We remain in constant communication with the GLOs because each operation is a different situation. This communication is the key to success.
By increasing pilots and planners understanding of terminology and graphics, the Airmen and Soldiers are able to communicate with one another better and put the mission into action.
When a pilot rolls into a mission, say a raid, that we have briefed, he does so knowing some important information already, Sergeant McCormack said. He knows where the good guys are and where to expect the bad guys to be. He knows how we are marking friendly positions and what routes our forces will use to move around on.
Knowing all of this, he spends less time asking the people on the ground questions and more time focusing on supporting the operation and identifying the enemy, he said.