Marine Air Control Squadron 1

Marine Air Control Squadron 1 (MACS-1) is a United States Marine Corps aviation command and control squadron . The squadron provides aerial surveillance, air traffic control, ground-controlled intercept, and aviation data-link connectivity for the I Marine Expeditionary Force. It was the first air warning squadron commissioned as part of the Marine Corps' new air warning program and is the second oldest aviation command and control unit in the Marine Corps.[1][2] The squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and falls under Marine Air Control Group 38 and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Marine Air Control Squadron 1
MACS-1 Insignia
Active1 Sept 1943 – 1 Feb 1972
7 Oct 1983 - present
Country United States of America
Branch United States Marine Corps
TypeAviation Command & Control
RoleAerial surveillance & Air traffic control
Part ofMarine Air Control Group 38
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
Garrison/HQMarine Corps Air Station Yuma
EngagementsWorld War II

Korean War
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom

Operation Iraqi Freedom
LtCol Benjamin J. Kiley

Subordinate unitsEdit

Name Location
Headquarters and Support Company MCAS Yuma
Air Defense Company Alpha MCAS Yuma
Air Defense Company Bravo MCB Pendleton
Air Traffic Control Company Kilo MCB Pendleton
Air Traffic Control Company Lima MCAS Miramar
Air Traffic Control Company Mike MCAS Yuma


Provide air surveillance, airspace management and the control of aircraft and surface-to-air weapons for anti-air warfare and offensive air support while independently or simultaneously providing continuous all-weather radar and non-radar ATC services as in integral part of the Marine Air Command and Control system (MACCS) in support of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), and Joint Force Commander.[3]


World War IIEdit

Formation and movement to HawaiiEdit

Air Warning Squadron 1 was commissioned on September 1, 1943 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.[4] It was the first early warning squadron organized under the newly established 1st Marine Air Warning Group[5][4] The squadron's initial Table of organization and equipment had 14 officers and 192 enlisted Marines assigned.[6] On November 15 the squadron boarded trains in North Carolina bound for the West Coast. It arrived on November 22, 1943 at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California and began a short period of additional training prior to deployment.[6]

On December 29, AWS-1 personnel boarded the USS White Plains (CVE-66) headed for the Territory of Hawaii. It arrived at Pearl Harbor on January 4, 1944 and was transported to Marine Corps Air Station Ewa. Upon arrival it was reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 22, 4th Marine Base Defense Aircraft Wing and began training for combat missions in support of the World War II Pacific Campaign. After a short period of time at MCAS Ewa the squadron boarded the USS Mormacport on February 12 and sailed west for its first combat operation.


On February 20 1944, AWS-1 landed on Engebi as part of the larger Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign.[7] The squadron set up its SCR-270 and SCR-527 radars and took control of the airspace over Eniwetok on March 1, 1944.[8] During its time on Engebi the squadron worked closely with the 10th Defense Battalion to ensure the aircraft it controlled were properly deconflicted from the battalion's air defense fires.[9]

The first Japanese air raids against the Marines on Engebi occurred on the evening on March 8, 1944. Twenty Japanese aircraft departed Truk Atoll at 0230 inbound Engebi from the southwest. Twelve of the aircraft acted as decoys to draw American interceptors away while eight Japanese aircraft, successfully employing chaff to deceive American radars, made three bombing runs over the course of an hour and half. The first bombing run destroyed AWS-1's VHF radio transmitter necessitating immediate repair so aircraft control could continue. SSgt Jacob Marty was killed during the second bombing run while attempting to restore VHF communications. He was the first Marine from a Marine air warning squadron to be killed in action. Another seven Marines were injured during this raids.[10][8]


AWS-1 arrived off of Okinawa on April 19 and landed on Ie Shima on April 21, 1945 and began setting up its radars and air defense control centers.[11][12] The squadron was operational by the end of the month.[13] During its first 36 days of operations, AWS-1 plotted more than 200 Japanese raids and aircraft under its control scored a total of 149 enemy aircraft destroyed or damaged.[14]On July 9 the squadron sent a long range radar detachment to Iheya Island to further expand the radar coverage around Okinawa.[15]

Following the war the squadron remained on Ie Shima until February 1946. The squadron's forward echelon departed on February 23, 1946 onboard USS LST-690 arriving back in the States on March 29, 1946. Main body personnel and equipment were loaded onto USS LST-970 for transport back to the United States. With stops in Guam and Pearl Harbor en route, the main body did not arrive back at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA until April 14, 1946.[16] Upon arrival at MCAS Miramar the squadron was administratively assigned to Marine Air Warning Group 2. On August 1, 1946 the squadron was re-designated as Marine Ground Control Intercept Squadron 1 and in July 1947 it moved to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. In October 1947 the squadron was reassigned to Marine Air Control Group 2.[17]

Korean WarEdit

MGCIS-1 radar site located at Yonpo Airfield, Korea in December 1950.

MGCIS-1 was alerted for duty in Korea on 5 July 1950 and reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 33 the following day.[11] At the outbreak of the war, MGCIS-1 was severely under strength. Additional Marines were joined from other squadrons within Marine Air Control Group 2 to fill out the squadron's ranks prior to deployment.[18] The squadron departed Long Beach Harbor on 14 July 1950 on board USS General A. E. Anderson. They arrived in Kobe, Japan on 1 August 1950 and set up operations at Itami Air Force Base, Honshu, Japan to be co-located with VMF(N)-513.[19]

On 10 September, MGCIS-1 personnel boarded the USS George Clymer (APA-27) departed Kobe. While enroute they established a secondary Tactical Air Control Center on board in case any of the primary control ships were knocked out during the upcoming assault. Following the Inchon landings on 15 September, the squadron came ashore on 17 September and established radars and a control center at Kimpo Air Base. They were partially operating by 20 September.[20] While at Kimpo, MGCIS-1 controlled combat air patrol aircraft in the airspace and cleared cargo aircraft into the field. The squadron secured operations on 10 October and returned to the port at Inchon to prepare for follow on tasking. Personnel and gear were loaded onto the USS Alshain and the USNS Marine Phoenix (T-AP-195) and departed the harbor on 17 September.[21]

The squadron was administratively transferred to Marine Aircraft Group 12 in October 1950. MGCIS-1 secured operations in Hungnam on 11 December and all personnel boarded an LST on December 13 as part of the Hungnam evacuation. While afloat, squadron controllers assisted their US Navy counterparts controlling hundreds of aircraft daily during the operation.[22] The squadron sailed for Pusan, Korea and set up its equipment at Pusan West AB (K-1) as it prepared for follow-on tasking. In April 1951 MGCIS-1 was again administratively transferred to under the control of MACG-2. MGCIS-1 participated in the defense of the Korean Demilitarized Zone from July 1953 through March 1955. On February 15, 1954 the squadron received its current moniker of Marine Air Control Squadron 1[23].. In April 1955 the unit redeployed to Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, and was reassigned to Marine Aircraft Group 11 (MAG-11).

1960 through 1972Edit

The squadron was reduced to cadre status during March–April 1960. It was relocated during May 1960 to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona and reassigned to Marine Wing Headquarters Group, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. On February 1, 1972, the squadron was decommissioned.[24]

Reactivation, 1980s & 1990sEdit

11 years later in October 1983, the squadron was reactivated at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, as Marine Air Control Squadron 1, Marine Air Control Group 38, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. It participated in Operation Desert Shield in Southwest Asia from August until October 1990, though some elements of MACS-1 remained in Saudi Arabia in support of MACS-2.

MACS-1 Relocated during Jun 1998 to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. Elements supported Operation Southern Watch, Iraq, March–April 2000 and in November–December 2000, and May–June 2001.

Global War on TerrorEdit

Elements of MACS-1 supported Operation Enduring Freedom, in Afghanistan from January–May 2002. This was followed by a deployment to Kuwait in February 2003 and participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 2003 to present, both as an Air Control agency, and subsequently standing up several Security Companies.

From 2009 through 2014, MACS-1, in concert with MACS-2, supported sustained TAOC operations at Camp Leatherneck, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Utilizing the AN/TPS-59 radar as its primary sensor, these units were responsible for controlling 70,000 square miles of airspace in support of Regional Command Southwest operations. From 2009 through 2014, both MACS-1 and MACS-2 coordinated more than 320,000 fixed-wing operations, 80,000 aerial refueling operations, and more than 7,000 rotary wing operations. The TAOC's mission in Afghanistan ended in November 2014 as the Marine Corps withdrew its presence in Southern Afghanistan and turned over control of the area to United States Air Force's 71st Expeditionary Air Control Squadron.[25]

Notable former membersEdit

Unit awardsEdit

A unit citation or commendation is an award bestowed upon an organization for the action cited. Members of the unit who participated in said actions are allowed to wear on their uniforms the awarded unit citation. Marine Air Control Squadron 1 has been presented with the following awards:[27]

Streamer Award Year(s) Additional Info
  Presidential Unit Citation (Navy) Streamer with three Bronze Stars 1945, 1950, 1951, 2003 Okinawa, Korea, Iraq
  Presidential Unit Citation (Army) Streamer 1950 Korea
  Navy Unit Commendation Streamer with four Bronze Stars 1952–1953, 1990, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07 Korea, Southwest Asia, Iraq
  Meritorious Unit Commendation Streamer with two Bronze Stars 1985–87, 1988–1989, 1998–1999
  Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Streamer with two Bronze Stars 1944, 1945 Eniwetok, Okinawa
  World War II Victory Streamer 1941–1945 Pacific War
  Navy Occupation Service Streamer with "ASIA"

  National Defense Service Streamer with three Bronze Stars 1950–1954, 1961–1974, 1990–1995, 2001–present Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, War on Terrorism
  Korean Service Streamer with four Bronze Stars 1950–1953
  Southwest Asia Service Streamer with one Bronze Star September 1990 – February 1991 Desert Shield, Desert Storm
  Afghanistan Campaign Streamer with one bronze star

  Iraq Campaign Streamer with four Bronze Stars

  Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Streamer

  Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer 2001–present
  Korea Presidential Unit Citation Streamer

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "75TH Anniversary of the Marine Air Command And Control System (MACCS) and Selected Units". United States Marine Corps. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  2. ^ Shettle 2001, pp. 29.
  3. ^ "Mission". MACS-1, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b Sherrod 1952, pp. 449.
  5. ^ 3d MAW General Order 17-1943 - Commissioning AWS-1
  6. ^ a b Banks 1999, pp. 26.
  7. ^ a b Doll 2000, pp. 13.
  8. ^ a b Sherrod 1952, pp. 233–234.
  9. ^ Rottman 2004, pp. 71.
  10. ^ Doll 2000, pp. 14.
  11. ^ a b Banks 1999, pp. 29.
  12. ^ Doll 2000, pp. 31.
  13. ^ Sherrod 1952, pp. 398.
  14. ^ "Marine Radar Records Was Tops At Okinawa". Radar (11): 28. September 1945.
  15. ^ Sherrod 1952, pp. 401.
  16. ^ Banks 1999, pp. 35.
  17. ^ Rottman 2002, pp. 449.
  18. ^ Hammes 2010, pp. 114–115.
  19. ^ Field 2000, pp. 1.
  20. ^ Banks 1999, pp. 29–30.
  21. ^ Banks 1999, pp. 30.
  22. ^ Montross, Kuokka & Hicks 1962, pp. 1–2.
  23. ^ 1st MAW Message Traffic directing the re-designation of numerous units
  24. ^ "USMC Status of Forces January - April 1972" (PDF). United States Marine Corps. p. 107. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  25. ^ Long, Auston (Winter 2014). "Marines Turn Over Control of Air Space to the Air Force". The Yellowsheet. Quantico, VA: Marine Corps Aviation Association.
  26. ^ Timeline of the Life of Lee Harvey Oswald
  27. ^ "Lineage & Honors of Marine Air Control Squadron 1" (PDF). United States Marine Corps. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2020.


  This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  • Banks, Herbert C., ed. (1999). Marine Night Fighter Association. Turner Publishing Company. ISBN 1-56311-512-3.
  • Doll, Thomas E. (2000). Night Wings, USMC Night Fighters 1942-1953. Squadron/Series Publications. ISBN 0897474198.
  • Hammes, T. X. (2010). Forgotten Warriors: The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, The Corps Ethos, And The Korean War. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
  • Montross, Lynn; Kuokka, Maj Hubard D.; Hicks, Maj Norman W. (1962). U.S. Marine Operations in Korea 1950-1953 - Volume I - The Pusan Perimeter. Washington D.C.: Headquarters Marine Corps.
  • Rottman, Gordon (2002). U.S. Marine Corps World War II Order of Battle: Ground and Air Units in the Pacific War, 1939–1945. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-31906-5.
  • Rottman, Gordon (2004). US Marine Corps Pacific Theater of Operations 1944-45. Osprey Press. ISBN 1841766593.
  • Sherrod, Robert (1952). History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II. Washington, D.C.: Combat Forces Press. ISBN 0-89201-048-7.
  • Shettle, Robert (2001). United States Marine Corps Air Stations of World War II. Bowersville, GA: Schaertel Publishing CO. ISBN 0964338823.

External linksEdit