USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Three U.S. Army Ground Liaison Officers (GLO) recently joined the Ronald Reagan Strike Group (RRSG) in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility to help coordinate air and ground support for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), June 17.
Army GLOs work with the RRSG team to provide ground commanders the effective air support they need.
Army Maj. Brendan McShea, assigned to 4th Battlefield Coordination Det. (BCD) explained the importance of the GLO team being aboard the ship.
"We are here because we get the ground concept," said McShea. "We coordinate with the ground commanders and interpret their needs, then pass that along to the pilots."
GLOs are experienced soldiers, who have previously served on the ground in the designated combat zone. They have first-hand experience working in a hostile environment, giving them a unique perspective to help guide the missions.
"When I'm aboard this aircraft carrier, I am the link between the air wing and the ground forces," said Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Palumbo, assigned to 1st BCD. "When they leave, it's important for the air crews to have situational awareness of the area.
A primary element GLOs bring to the table is flexibility of how the air support is employed. They help field the request that come from the ground commander and coordinate with the RRSG team to coordinate the best course of action.
"Realistically, the battlefield is fluid," said Palumbo, a veteran of four combat deployments. "We work with the Carrier Intelligence Center (CVIC) to produce a product, trimming it down to the essential issues. We give the pilots the best info we can in order to get the best results."
Not only are the GLOs necessary to interpret the scenario, they often help interpret.
"The fact is, the Army and Navy don't always speak the same language," said Palumbo. "Different words, different meanings-even different acronyms. Ground Commanders appreciate having someone who speaks their language and knows where they are coming from, which all helps the success of the mission."
GLOs are typically deployed for a year at a time, half of which is usually spent aboard aircraft carriers. Regardless of where they are working, the end goal is always the same.
"I know our teamwork brings benefits directly to the battlefield," said McShea. "At the end of the day, we hope to make everything go well for the guys in the line of fire."
Ronald Reagan CSG is comprised of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, which includes guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88). Embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 includes the "Black Knights" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, the "Argonauts" of VFA-147, the "Blue Diamonds" of VFA-146, the "Death Rattlers" of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 323, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ) 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.
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