Marine Corps ANGLICO History
What is ANGLICO?
Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO) is a specialized United States Marine Corps unit that provides close air support, artillery fire, naval gunfire support, and communications expertise to US and coalition forces. ANGLICO units consist of highly trained officers and enlisted personnel from both the Marine Corps and Navy who work closely with all branches to coordinate fire support and communications capabilities.
The ANGLICO units of the United States Marine Corps evolved from the Joint Assault Signal Companies (JASCO) that were used during World War II. During World War II, the need for more efficient coordination of air and naval gunfire with ground forces became clear. In response, the U.S. military established JASCO units composed of Army, Navy, and Marine Corps personnel. These units were tasked with controlling air strikes, naval gunfire, and artillery during amphibious assaults.
As the war concluded and the nature of warfare began to shift, the JASCO units were disbanded. However, the lessons learned about the need for effective coordination of air and naval firepower with ground operations were not forgotten.
The Korean War further highlighted the necessity for specialized units that could coordinate supporting fire for ground forces. As a result, in the early 1950s, the Marine Corps established the ANGLICO units. They were specifically designed to control close air support (CAS) and naval gunfire in support of Marine Corps and other friendly forces.
ANGLICO units inherit the JASCO mission but are more specialized. They are small, elite units that are trained to call in air strikes and naval gunfire, often deep within enemy territory. They are capable of operating with a variety of U.S. and allied military units, including those that lack their own fire support coordination capabilities.
It's important to note that while ANGLICO units can trace their origins back to the JASCO units of World War II, the two are not the same and ANGLICO did not directly form from JASCO. Instead, the concept and mission of JASCO was essentially refined and specialized over time to create ANGLICO.
ANGLICO in the Korean War
ANGLICO established itself as a flexible and proficient Mobile Training Team (MTT) comprising Subject Matter Experts (SME) capable of effectively coordinating tactical level liaison planning and execution for joint amphibious and subsequent operations. Its first trial by fire came after the events of 25 June 1950, when General Douglas MacArthur enlisted ANGLICO's services in Japan to swiftly bolster his staff with additional amphibious expertise. ANGLICO promptly showcased its operational planning and execution prowess by collaborating with another amphibious training team and Rear Admiral James H. Doyle's staff. Together, these groups successfully trained one regiment from each of the Eighth Army’s divisions in Japan.
The ANGLICO team's extensive knowledge of Navy-Marine Doctrine Tactics Training and Procedures (DTTP) in amphibious operations proved vital in facilitating strategic planning, which culminated in the seamless loading, transporting, and offloading of the 1st Cavalry Division for their landing at Pohang-dong on 18 July.
The capabilities of ANGLICO teams in tactical liaison were prominently displayed throughout pivotal moments in the Korean conflict, including the defense of the Pusan perimeter, the amphibious assault at Inchon, and subsequent engagements. As an integral part of the 1st Marine Provisional Brigade, ANGLICO teams arrived at Pusan on 2 August 1950, immediately commencing direct support to U.S. Marine and Army forces. Their role encompassed the critical control of Close Air Support (CAS) assets deployed from U.S. Navy aircraft carriers.
During the Inchon landing on 16 September, ANGLICO battalion and regimental teams were among the first units to hit the shores, providing invaluable support in coordination and terminal control for fire support to U.S. Army and Allied forces, including the U.S. Army's 3rd Division and the Royal Marine 41 Independent Commando. This exemplified the exceptional contribution of ANGLICO Marines in facilitating joint operations and enhancing the overall effectiveness of allied forces in significant combat scenarios.
In 1951, the Marine Corps established the 1st Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (1st ANGLICO), composed of volunteers from other Marine Corps units. ANGLICO Marines were used to spot ordnance drops in Seoul, the Chosin Reservoir, and other battles.
During the Korean War, Captain Stamford and his ANGLICO team played a significant role in providing fire support coordination and directing air strikes. They trained with the Army and Air Force during the early summer and then joined the 5th Cavalry for amphibious operations. However, their ANGLICO tasks were completed without incident as ground forces moved past the beachhead.
Later, General Gay attempted to get Stamford's ANGLICO unit to operate further inland, but Admiral Doyle intervened, recognizing that ANGLICO's naval officers were not suited for fighting inland. Stamford's unit returned to Japan, where they awaited further orders.
Eventually, Stamford and his team joined the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment and participated in the Battle of Inchon. They landed unopposed and marched inland, engaging in firefights with the enemy. Stamford called in air support and artillery fire to assist in these engagements, effectively neutralizing enemy positions.
After capturing various objectives and advancing further, Stamford continued to coordinate air strikes and artillery fire. He faced challenges with communication and had some close calls, such as when a tank hit his radio jeep. However, his strikes were successful in eliminating enemy positions and supporting ground forces.
Stamford and his unit continued their operations, including motorized patrols and engagements with the enemy. They coordinated air strikes, artillery fire, and used radio communication to direct attacks against North Korean forces. Stamford's expertise and effectiveness as a forward air controller were recognized by his superiors and he was granted more freedom in running air strikes.
The unit's actions resulted in significant enemy casualties and the destruction of enemy equipment and supplies. Stamford and his team played a crucial role in supporting the 7th Division's operations under X Corps during the Korean War.
After leaving the Inchon-Seoul operation, Stamford's ANGLICO unit was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, and they continued their operations in various locations, including Pusan and Iwon, until further orders were received.
Overall, ANGLICO units like Stamford's provided vital coordination and support, ensuring effective use of firepower and air support to assist ground forces during the Korean War.
ANGLICO in the Vietnam War
In May 1965, 1st ANGLICO activated Sub Unit One for deployment in Vietnam, marking the beginning of an unbroken eight-year duty period in the region. The unit's inaugural commanding officer was Lieutenant Colonel George H. Albers. 1st ANGLICO used Naval Gunfire and Naval Air to support the 1st Cavalry Division and Vietnamese Rangers, while 2nd ANGLICO supported the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division 7 during Operation CLOVE HITCH in 1966. Remarkably, Sub Unit One was the only Marine Corps body that reported directly to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MAC-V), which took operational control over the sub-unit in September 1966.
Throughout its Vietnam engagement, Sub Unit One's NGLO and TACP teams were operative across all four tactical zones, and it notably was the last Fleet Marine Force unit to withdraw from the war. The sub-unit supported naval gunfire and close air operations in aid of various forces, including the South Vietnamese Army and Marine units, South Korean Army and Marine units, the Australian and New Zealand Armed Forces, and the United States Army and Marine combat Divisions.
Despite only an estimated 1350 men serving in the sub-unit over the eight-year period, their contribution was significant, impacting nearly every combat operation of the war.
The Easter Offensive launched on 30 March 1972, the only counter-battery fires aimed at the North Vietnamese artillery, which was unleashing a storm of ordnance across I Corps ahead of the Easter Offensive, came from U.S. Navy gun-line ships. These fires were directed by ANGLICO naval gunfire spotters. At this time, the unit was composed of merely 107 officers and personnel, both Navy and Marine.
By midday on 1 April, the South Vietnamese garrison at Gio Linh had retreated from their perimeter positions to the base's bunkers while the 5-man ANGLICO team continued to call in fire missions against the advancing NVA 308th Division. NVA forces were probing the base perimeter when an Army Bell UH-1 Iroquois from F Troop 8th Calvary arrived to evacuate the ANGLICO team.
As the team prepared to board a helicopter for evacuation, enemy artillery rounds and small arms fire hit a bunker where Cpl James Worth and team leader 1st Lt David Bruggeman were standing, killing the lieutenant. The three other members of the team recovered the lieutenant's body but were unable to locate Cpl Worth. They began searching for him but were forced to leave when the evacuation helicopter began taking enemy fire. After the helicopter took off, Cpl Worth radioed that he was on his way to Dong Ha to join up with another group of Marine advisors. Corporal Worth was not heard from again.
Since then, ANGLICO units have been involved in numerous conflicts and operations, including Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
ANGLICO in the 80's
In the early 1980s, ANGLICO units were involved in numerous high-intensity operations. From June 1982 to March 1984, 2d ANGLICO supported 35 operations with the US Army and allied nations. These operations spanned a variety of locations and activities, from arctic missions in northern Norway and exercises in the Mediterranean to providing Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) support for US Navy carrier wings in the Caribbean and training operations with South American militaries.
Moreover, 2d ANGLICO was involved in sensitive peacekeeping missions during the PLO evacuation in Beirut, Lebanon and subsequently served in the Multi-national Peace Keeping Force. The 2d ANGLICO teams provided support to British, Italian, French, and Lebanese Army elements and engaged enemy targets on several occasions. They effectively used supporting arms from the US Marine Corps, US Navy, and Lebanese forces, which included 16" naval gunfire from the USS New Jersey and 122mm rocket fire from Lebanese Army BM21 multiple rocket launchers. A noteworthy achievement during this period was when a 2d ANGLICO SALT officer conducted naval gunfire spotting from an A6 Intruder, marking the first instance of this activity from this platform.
In spite of nearly a third of its force being engaged on international duties, for the first time in its history, 2d ANGLICO also supported the 18th Airborne Corps during Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion of Grenada. This was the first occasion when an entire U.S. Army Division, specifically the 82nd Airborne Division, received support during combat operations. 2d ANGLICO teams were amongst the first elements to air-land at Point Salines airfield, where they controlled US Navy LTV A-7 Corsair II aircraft for close air support and assisted in mitigating indirect fires from Army units.
Under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel J.M. Wills and Lieutenant General A.M. Gray (who later served as Commandant of the Marine Corps) in the mid-to-late 1980s, 2d ANGLICO refocused on core skills. These included routine live naval gunfire training with the USS Iowa battleship and increased mass tactical exercises with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division. Furthermore, 2d ANGLICO began to develop expertise in low-intensity conflict response, employing weapon systems like the Air Force AC-130 Spectre and mastering insertion methods such as Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction and Fast Rope.