The Marine Corps preaches that we train as we fight, but the F/A-18D community is not afforded that opportunity. It is too busy practicing missions that it is unlikely to execute in combat. In its six years of existence, the F/A-18D (Delta) community has rapidly become the "Jack of all trades, master of none." The F/A-18D is arguably the most versatile multi-role strike fighter aircraft in the U.S. inventory. However, the Marine Corps does not focus Delta training appropriately. Because the F/A-18 community's senior officers have come from other aircraft communities, many of them with "fighter" backgrounds believe that training to the air-to-air mission, a mission we are less likely to perform in combat, better prepares us to handle a dynamic. changing flight environment in such other mission areas as close air support and forward air control (airborne) [FAC(A)]. This roundabout approach reduces the amount of training time available for the missions that we are likely to execute in combat. As the new aviation campaign reduces flight time, we cannot afford to spend that time outside of our primary mission areas.
Let the Deltas Soar
By Captain Casey C. Travers, U.S. Marine Corps