Marine Reserve air power was at the forefront supporting Integrated Training Exercise 4-17 at Twentynine Palms in southern California. Joe Copalman saw the action.


With live 2.75in rockets still in their pods, an AH-1W from HMLA-773 Det A returns to the SELF after a CAS mission in support of the mechanised assault course.
All photos Joe Copalman

The primary purpose of US Marine Corps aviation has always been to serve the marine infantryman on the ground. That core mission was abundantly clear for the five combat squadrons from the Marine Forces Reserves’ (MARFORRES) 4th Marine Air Wing (MAW) that supported Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) 4-17 from June 8 to July 5. Held at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, the month-long ITX prepares marine infantry battalions for deployment as part of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF). What made ITX 4-17 unique is that it was entirely a MARFORRES initiative. Held once every summer, the reserve ITX differs from the active component version in that it is not so much a predeployment exercise as it is preparing two battalions to be the reserve component’s ‘ready bench’ for the following year.

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