R 061319Z FEB 19
MSGID/GENADMIN/CG MCCDC QUANTICO VA//
SUBJ/29 PALMS STRATEGIC EXPEDITIONARY LANDING FIELD DECERTIFICATION AS A CLASS II CONTROL TOWER FACILITY//
REF/A/MARADMIN 229 04/19 MAY 2004//
REF/B/NAVAIR 00-80T-114/15 SEP 2006//
REF/C/NAVMC 3500.94A/28 JUL 2015//
REF/D/OPNAV N980A LTR/31 MAR 2018//
REF/F/COMBAT CENTER ORDER 3500.14A DTD 09 APR 2015//
NARR/REF A IS THE AIR TRAFFIC AND CONTROL NAVAL AVIATION TRAINING AND OPERATIONS (NATOPS) MANUAL WHICH ESTABLISHES THE CRITERIA AND CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTROL TOWER FACILITIES AT ESTABLISHED NAVY AND MARINE CORPS AIR FACILITIES. REF B ANNOUNCED CMC DECISION TO ESTABLISH THE 29 PALMS STRATEGIC EXPEDITIONARY LANDING FIELD (SELF) AS A CLASS II CONTROL TOWER FACILITY. REF C IS THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TRAINING AND READINESS MANUAL, WHICH ESTABLISHES DESIGNATIONS, QUALIFICATIONS, AND TRAINING STANDARDS FOR AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL PERSONNEL AND UNITS. REF D IS THE LETTER FROM OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS NAVAL AIRSPACE AND AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL STANDARDS AND EVALUATION AGENCY (OPNAV N980A) DECERTIFYING THE 29 PALMS SELF AS A CLASS II CONTROL TOWER FACILITY EFFECTIVE 30 JUNE 2018. REF E IS THE 29 PALMS SELF AIRFIELD OPERATIONS MANUAL. REF F IS THE MARINE AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER ORDER ON INTEGRATED TRAINING EXERCISES.//
POC/JACOB REEVES/LTCOL/TECOM/MTESD/ASB/TEL: (703) 784-4053/E-MAIL: JACOB.REEVES@USMC.MIL//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. The purpose of this Marine Administrative Message (MARADMIN) is to announce the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) decision to decertify the 29 Palms Strategic Expeditionary Landing Field (SELF) as a Class II control tower facility, identify associated impacts to units utilizing the SELF for training, and provide information on follow-on actions that will effect a smooth transition to the revised status of the 29 Palms SELF.
1.a. This decision applies only to the Class II control tower certification and does not apply to the expeditionary airfield matting certification, which remains in place to support continued use of the SELF.
1.b. This MARADMIN modifies MARADMIN 229/04 as per paragraph three and four below.
2.a. In 2003, the Director of Air Warfare, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) N785F (now N980A), certified the 29 Palms SELF as a Class II control tower facility, after decision by CMC. This decision is captured in reference (a), and was made based on the recommendation of the Marine Air Control Group (MACG) community.
2.b. Per reference b, a Class II control tower facility provides control of visual flight rules aircraft and flight planning services. The MACG community recommendation and subsequent CMC decision were made to meet the following objectives:
2.b.1. Establish the SELF as a permanent airfield, thus negating the need to request authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (through OPNAV N785F) to operate as a temporary tower-controlled airfield each time using units conducted exercises.
2.b.2. Ensure the SELF could meet very high utilization rates required by squadrons preparing to deploy for overseas contingencies and ongoing operational commitments.
2.b.3. Provide a venue to continually train and qualify air traffic control (ATC) personnel needed to meet the high demands of Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF), and other operational requirements.
2.c. Class II Certification of the SELF accomplished each of these objectives. However, the situation has changed significantly since the end of OIF and OEF:
2.c.1. Use of the SELF has diminished significantly.
2.c.2. Manpower demands across the ATC community have made it extremely difficult to adequately staff the SELF to fully comply with requirements established in reference (b) to maintain the Class II control tower certification.
2.c.3. There is a high demand to train expeditionary ATC detachments utilizing assets like the SELF, but few opportunities, as identified in the last six ATC community training management team working groups.
2.c.4. Based on specific constraints associated with the Class II control tower facility certification, ATC detachments are effectively prevented from training to expeditionary standards identified in reference (c) utilizing the SELF.
3. As a result, the CMC approved a recommendation from the Commanding General (CG), I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) to de-certify the SELF and re-allocate the associated ATC manpower to fill high priority gaps. Effective 6 November 2018, the 29 Palms SELF is no longer required to be certified as a Class II control tower facility, in accordance with reference (d).
4. Additional Information
4.a. Aircrews desiring to operate at the SELF on a short term basis (typically less than a day, with no or limited user unit footprint at the SELF) and receive associated airfield services, must submit a request to Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS)-374 in accordance with reference (e).
4.b. Aircrews must be aware that there will no longer be a standing ATC detachment at the SELF, and must be prepared to execute closed field operations when operating at the SELF. These procedures are found in reference (e).
4.c. Use of the SELF in conjunction with service level training, will be coordinated through quarterly Force Synchronization Conferences (FSC) hosted by Marine Forces Command.
4.d. Ability to provide aviation ground support (AGS) to user units is limited, based on the recent downsizing of MWSS-374. Marine Air Wings (MAW) tasked at the FSC with supporting a service level training event or large scale exercise (i.e., ITX, WTI, etc.) will be responsible for sourcing MACG (ATC) and MWSS (AGS) requirements. Specific requirements for ATC capabilities will be determined by exercise force mission analysis and planning, and will be guided by references (c) and (f). AGS requirements are found in reference (f).
4.e. All ATC detachments operating at the SELF will be appropriately qualified and designated for the specific types of training and operations being conducted at the SELF, in accordance with reference (c).
4.f. Exercise forces employing ATC capability at the SELF will complete all required coordination in accordance with applicable letters of agreement and will execute operations in accordance with references (b)-(f).
5. Follow on actions. To ensure full and effective coordination of the transition to the changed 29 Palms SELF status, the below actions will take place immediately following the publication of this MARADMIN.
5.a. CG, 3d MAW will develop and staff a new Marine Corps Order (MCO) that establishes policy regarding the 29 Palms SELF to include roles and responsibilities for the 29 Palms SELF, and the changes established by this MARADMIN.
5.b. Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) Aviation (AVN), APX-8 will submit a Table of Organization and Equipment Change Request to Total Forces Structure Division to re-allocate the manpower and equipment associated with the current 29 Palms SELF ATC detachment to fill critical gaps across the force as determined by the occupational field sponsor.
5.c. CG, 3d MAW and CG, Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Training Center (MAGTF-TC) will update standing agreements to incorporate new policy and procedures associated with this MARADMIN and pending MCO on the 29 Palms SELF.
5.d. CG, 3d MAW will modify reference (e) to account for the removal of the ATC detachment.
5.e. CG, MAGTF-TC will modify reference (f) to account for the removal of the ATC detachment.
6. Additional points of contact.
6.a. HQMC AVN: MGySgt Chad E. Roach, APX-8, (703) 692-9913, firstname.lastname@example.org.
6.b. I MEF: LtCol Sean M. Merlin, G3 Air Operations, (760) 725-8978, email@example.com.
6.c. THIRD MAW: Col Mike Watkins, G3, (858) 577-4549, firstname.lastname@example.org.
6.d. MAGTF-TC: Col Hal Sellers, G3, (760) 830-6492, email@example.com.
7. Release authorized by Lieutenant General D. H. Berger, Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command.//