One joint tactical air controller (JTAC) interrupts my wait. Oddly, his not calling in for support for the company he is fighting with, but to brief me about a Marines squad in need of a hand. He heard about this Marines squad on the battalion radio network and passes me a frequency. This Marines squad has no JTAC.
I tune in to find out what's going on, and the first I hear is gunfire and yelling on a hot mic. Pretty intense. I patiently wait for a break on the hot mic and it comes after a loud thump. I offer firepower from above and all I get is a "get the hell out of this network!". This is not the type of misunderstanding you want when you are under fire, Marine!
Eventually, the Marine on the other end comes to his senses and we both rejoice. There is nobody with air controller experience down there. I will have to get talked to my target.
The Marine squad was on patrol when it came under heavy fire from a village. Their AAV threw a track and its main guns jammed. The Marines can't withdraw and are pinned down by a truck-mounted ZSU-23 anti aircraft gun.
I ask the Marine where they are and he throws me a place name. I don't recognize that name and the maps I have loaded in the navigation system are not that detailed. The Marine gives me his coordinates from a hand held GPS.
|Manually entering coordinates in the control display unit (CDU). These coordinates will become waypoint 6, which I manually name FOX.|
|HUD view: note the waypoint information on the lower right corner ("6/Fox" for waypoint 6 or Fox).|
|Somewhere down, the Marines wait for help!|
Stay tunned, more is coming!