Marine Air Support Squadron 1
Marine Air Support Squadron 1 (MASS-1), callsign "Chieftain," is a United States Marine Corps aviation command and control unit that provides the Direct Air Support Center (DASC) capability for the II Marine Expeditionary Force. MASS-1 is based out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, and part of Marine Air Control Group 28 of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
|Marine Air Support Squadron 1|
|Founded||June 25, 1943|
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Type||Aviation command and control|
|Role||Provide the DASC|
|Part of||Marine Air Control Group 28
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
|Garrison/HQ||Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point|
|Engagements||Operation Power Pack
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
|LtCol Ryan P. Allen|
The squadron is responsible for the planning, receiving, coordination and processing of requests for direct or close air support. It provides this through the DASC, whether ground or airborne based. The DASC is the principal Marine air command and control system agency, responsible for the direction of air operations directly supporting ground forces. It functions in a decentralized mode of operation, but is directly supervised by the marine or Navy Tactical Air Command Center. During amphibious or expeditionary operations, the DASC is normally the first air command & control agency ashore and usually lands in the same serial (i.e., scheduled wave or on-call wave) as the Ground Combat Element's senior Fire Support Coordination Center.
MASS-1 was originally commissioned as Headquarters and Services Squadron of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing on 25 June 1943 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. On 1 April 1944 they were assigned to the 9th Marine Aircraft Wing and on 31 March 1946 they were assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. In July 1947, the unit’s name was changed to Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron 1 (MARTACRON-1) and in February 1954, the squadron assumed its present designation.
In May 1956, MASS-1 deployed to the Dominican Republic and provided air support for Operation Power Pack by carrying out its duties as controlling agency for rotary and fixed wing aircraft. On 1 September 1967 the squadron was reassigned to Marine Air Control Group 28, where it remains today.
In August 1990, MASS-1 deployed a detachment in support of 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, the amphibious forces which deployed to Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield. A second detachment later deployed to provide an airborne DASC in support of I MEF, and both detachments ultimately participated in Operation Desert Storm. During the 1990s, the squadron was twice designated as the Marine Air Command and Control Systems Unit of the Year, receiving the prestigious "Edward S. Fris Award" in both 1992 and 1998.
On 21 January 2003, the squadron deployed to Kuwait and was attached to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and conducted airborne DASC operations during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, returning home in May 2003. In January 2005, MASS-1 redeployed to Iraq to provide a DASC, Air Support Elements and Air Support Liaison Teams throughout Al Anbar Province. MASS-1 deployed to Iraq a third time in 2007 for a year-long tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2009, the squadron returned to Iraq for another 12-month deployment, while also sending a detachment on a concurrent combat deployment to Afghanistan in support of Marine Aircraft Group 40. Since the end of combat operations, MASS-1 moved into a state-of-the-art aviation C2 complex in 2016. MASS-1 leads the Marine Air Command and Control community as an innovator, qualifying the first DASC data link specialists (JICO/AJOC), developing enlisted controllers who are also qualified to operate from U.S. Navy ships, and integrating live/virtual/constructive training networks into their garrison facility.
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. MASS-1 has been presented with the following awards:
- Dyer, Zachary (11 April 2007). "MASS-1 Marines dedicate command post to fallen comrade". Marine Corps News. United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 13 April 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2007.
- Dyer, Zachary (11 April 2007). "MASS-1: Al Anbar's 9-1-1". Marine Corps News. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 11 April 2008.[dead link]
- MASS-1's official website. Retrieved on 14 February 2010.