Marine WTI training in Yuma County

YUMA, Ariz. – The Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course is underway in Yuma County and Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) is inviting the public to come out Friday for the show.

Commanding Officer Colonel James Adams said, “Why are all these aircraft flying over my house? This is why.”

It is strictly a simulation, but it gives Marines a taste of what a real life scenario is really like. Facilitated by MAWTS-1) since 1978, this seven-week course provides advanced tactical aviation training designed to produce WTI.

Major Wilbur Oles said, “The purpose of the training is to provide our students during the WTI class realistic training that is consistent with the missions that they’ll actually face once they get out into the operating forces.”

Marine officials say it’s the unique training course for the top 10 percent of Marines.

Adams said, “When we are landing out in the middle of a park, in the middle of the city, where we have active role-players like a live breathing scenario, there is no training like it. You couldn’t get it in a simulator, training range, it’s very unique.”

The flight window is from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., landing in multiple sites around Yuma: Kiwanis Park, Trinity Christian Center, Centennial Middle School and Yuma Regional Medical Center.

Adams said, “All the Marines who are out there participating are able to answer questions and there are a lot of pictures that people pose for, so it’s a really good community relations type of event.”

The purpose of the training is to simulate an evacuation operation in Twentynine Palms and foreign humanitarian assistance in Yuma.

Their goal is to make this training as realistic as possible, even involving Arizona Western College’s theater group.

Adams said, “They provide makeup and realistic wounds on some of the refugees.”

Mayor Doug Nicholls and other city leaders are completely on board and supportive of this demonstration.

Adams said, “We actually arrange with coordinator with the Mayor for key individuals in the city to ride in the back of the Hueys and the 53s into and out of the zones, so they get a really up close and personal experience.”

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