MAWTS 1: An Incubator for Military Transformation


Training for military forces is in the throes of significant change. The threats are dynamic; there is always the reactive enemy; and technology fosters new ways to operate. Concepts of operations are evolving, most notably as U.S. and allied forces are focusing on force distribution to deal with the higher end threats authoritarian adversaries are fielding.

Robbin Laird and Ed Timperlake have visited the major training centers in the United States and several abroad as the state of the art of training is dynamically developing as well. In this book, they highlight their visits to a major training center, MAWTS-1 located at Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma. This is a truly multi-domain training center and has been from its inception.

They have visited together or separately several times since 2011 so have seen the introduction of new air systems into the USMC and have been able to talk with Marines as they shifted from preparing for the land wars to the higher end fight generated by authoritarian adversaries.

They have then had the benefit of talking with several former commanders of MAWTS-1 to gain further understanding of how MAWTS-1 was established and has evolved throughout its history.

As Lt Gen George Trautman, former head of USMC Aviation comments in the forward to the book:

“In their new book, MAWTS-1 An Incubator for Military Transformation, Robbin Laird and Ed Timberlake have captured the essence of Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) in a very creative way…

“This book provides an analysis of the role of MAWTS-1 in the evolution of the USMC.  MAWTS-1 keeps  Marine aviation moving forward. New concepts of operation and new weapon systems demand refined tactics and innovative methods of training. As the Marine Corps exploits the incredible capabilities of the V-22 Osprey, F-35 Lightning II, CH-53 King Stallion, the TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) and the Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S), the MAWTS-1 staff, and the Weapons and Tactics Instructors (WTI’s) they produce, are at the cutting edge of keeping the Fleet Marine Force ready and relevant.

“The book tracks the recent evolution of the squadron, and then provides a series of interviews with the pioneers and Commanding Officers who developed and fostered the MAWTS-1 concept, fought off the naysayer’s resistance to change, and led Marine aviation into what it has become today – an essential element of the MAGTF dedicated to bringing about a revolution in next generation aviation capabilities.

“These retrospectives may be the most valuable part of the book because they showcase the impact a small cadre of individuals, disappointed in their assessment of post-Vietnam Marine aviation, can have. Their visionary ideas set a new course that grew from something innocuously called “Project 19” into the premier aviation training squadron in the world – MAWTS-1.”