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.

JASCO during the Battle of Saipan in WWII

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. They also supported the 101st Airborne in Tuy Hoa by attaching to the Korean Marine Blue Dragon Brigade for Operations JEFFERSON and VAN BUREN. 2nd ANGLICO supported the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division 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.

On February 14–15, 1967, the Battle of Trà Bình occurred in the village of Trà Bình, Trà Bồng District. Two Marines from Sub Unit One, 1st ANGLICO, Lance Corporals Jim Porta and Dave Long, played a pivotal role in supporting the South Korean Blue Dragons of the 11th Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Brigade, during a regimental-sized assault. Over four hours of intense close-quarters combat, the People's Army of Vietnam and Viet Cong breached the company's perimeter twice.

Lance Corporals Porta and Long were instrumental in the company's success, eliminating enemy infiltrators, coordinating air support, joining counterattacks to restore the perimeter, and aiding the wounded. Their efforts were crucial in utilizing every available weapon, with much of the fighting being hand-to-hand, ultimately helping to repel the attack and secure the 11th Company's position.

On August 1, 1967, a three-man ANGLICO team was riding in an armored personnel carrier, accompanying a Blue Dragon unit in the field, when a booby trap explosive device detonated beneath them. One of the three Americans was Captain John L. Lavish, a Marine captain who had flown 151 F-4B Phantom missions as a pilot with VMFA-314 at Chu Lai. The other two were enlisted ANGLICO radio operators: Sergeant Calvin A. McGinty, Jr., and Private First Class Stanley J. “Skip” Seavers.


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. 

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 1,350 men serving in the sub-unit over the eight-year period, their contribution was significant, impacting nearly every combat operation of the war.

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.


ANGLICO in the Gulf War

In the Gulf War, ANGLICO significantly contributed to allied fire support capabilities and strengthened U.S.-Arab allies relations through multi-national cross-training programs. On 6 August 1990, President Bush ordered U.S. forces into Kuwait. The first ground forces were the 82nd Airborne with a detachment of Marines from 2nd ANGLICO in support. 1st ANGLICO soon deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of the 82nd Airborne, but were then reassigned to Arab Coalition forces. 3rd and 4th ANGLICO, later followed to further support the Coalition efforts. Between October and December of 1990, ANGLICO teams from the 1st Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Intelligence Group (SRIG) collaborated with Arab units, fostering mutual confidence and combat success.

Unprecedentedly, the U.S. Marine force integrated non-U.S. military corps-sized units on both flanks. 1st SRIG, bolstered by reinforcements from Camp Lejeune and the Reserve, was pivotal in this integration.

Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel William C. Grubb Jr., 1st ANGLICO provided the Arab allies with fire control and supporting arms liaison teams. 3d ANGLICO, based at Naval Base Long Beach, California, contributed five additional teams.

On the eastern flank, Force Reconnaissance companies and 1st ANGLICO were assigned to the Joint Forces Command-East, under Saudi Major General Sultan. This Arab command incorporated forces from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

Despite initial inexperience in supporting arms coordination, the arrival of ANGLICO teams brought a substantial change. These teams took charge of coordinating and controlling air and naval gunfire missions as part of Task Force Shepherd.

As of December 30, despite initial Saudi hesitance, the 1st SRIG teams occupied eight observation posts along the Saudi-Kuwait border. These teams controlled Marine and other service air strikes and naval gunfire in aid of the Joint Forces Command-East during the ground campaign. Similar assistance was provided on the left flank.

The situation escalated on January 29, when Iraqi forces penetrated Saudi Arabia along the Kuwait border. ANGLICO Marines, alongside Force Recon Marines, operated from two observation posts and a forward operating base. After being shelled and isolated, the Marines managed to escape to a safe house in Al Khafji, where they directed air strikes on Iraqi targets.


In 1998, 1st ANGLICO jumped into the Miramar Air Show to present their airborne capabilities  as part of the MAGTF Demonstration. SSgt Leo Lozano was the Primary Jump Master for the event, the SNCOIC was MSgt John Dillard and the DZSO was SSgt Olsen.


Leo Lozano 1st ANGLICO


In the wake of the Gulf War in 1997, the U.S. Marine Corps made a strategic decision to decommission the Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Companies. This decision culminated in 1999 with the deactivation of all active-duty ANGLICO units, specifically 1st and 2d ANGLICO. Their functions were subsequently reassigned to the Marine Liaison Elements, though the latter proved to be less effective because of a lack of funding and personnel.

During this time, only the reserve units, namely the 3d and 4th ANGLICO, continued their operations. Reserve ANGLICO units stood out as they preserved their jump mission, earning the unique designation as "Goldwingers." However, the landscape changed in 2003 during the US war in Iraq and the Global War on Terror. The escalating operational demands led to the reactivation of 1st and 2d ANGLICO units. Not long after, in 2004, 5th ANGLICO was established, marking another significant milestone in the evolution of ANGLICO units.

In 2003, the unfolding events of the US war in Iraq and the Global War on Terror amplified operational demands on the reserve ANGLICO units. As a result, it necessitated the reactivation of 1st and 2d ANGLICO. This resurgence in activity was followed in 2004 by the establishment of 5th ANGLICO, further bolstering the force's capabilities.

A decade later, in 2013, the ANGLICO units welcomed a new member, 6th ANGLICO, with its headquarters set up in Concord, California. Furthering ANGLICO's geographical reach, a brigade platoon detachment was initiated at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Five years on, in 2018, a strategic reshuffle took place within 6th ANGLICO. The decision was made to relocate its headquarters and a brigade platoon to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. This move was intended to optimize the use of the joint base's facilities and operational competencies.

However, this did not mark a complete departure from California. One of the command's three brigade platoons remained stationed in Concord, California, complementing 1st ANGLICO's presence and operational diversity in the state.


ANGLICO in the Iraq War

During the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003, ANGLICO teams were instrumental in coordinating air support for advancing ground forces. They were able to provide close air support and coordinate airstrikes on enemy positions, helping to rapidly advance coalition forces through enemy-held territory. ANGLICO teams continued to be involved in operations throughout the Iraq War, providing fire support for both offensive and defensive operations

On June 20, 2006, Corporal Christopher D. Leon was a 5th ANGLICO Marine attached to 2nd ANGLICO at Outpost Iron, located in Ramadi, Iraq. Outpost Iron was a newly acquired position, taken over by American forces after a high-intensity nighttime assault across the railway bridge that traverses the Tameen Canal. Troop B from 1-36 Infantry began testing the enemy's defenses in the vicinity immediately after securing the outpost.

Corporal Leon and his ANGLICO team assumed control of an observation post on the outpost's roof. From this strategic location, they were tasked with observing and providing support for patrols venturing into the open space that separated Outpost Iron from the main body of Ramadi. Tragically, it was here that Corporal Leon was fatally shot by a sniper from Al Qaeda in Iraq. Leon's death marked the first time an ANGLICO Marine had been killed in action since the Vietnam War.


ANGLICO in Afghanistan

In 2008, ANGLICO began supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. A detachment from 2d ANGLICO was sent as part of SMAGTF-A, and in 2009, a brigade platoon from 2d, followed by another from 1st and 3d, joined the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

On February 15, 2008, Sergeant Miguelange G. Madrigal, serving as a radio chief for Supporting Arms Liaison Team G, 1st ANGLICO, found himself in the throes of a fierce battle. Insurgents had launched an attack on Madrigal's team and other patrolling Marines. During the onslaught, a nearby Marine was critically injured, having been shot in the thigh.

With no regard for his personal safety, Sgt. Madrigal courageously sprinted onto the battlefield to retrieve the fallen Marine. He dragged the wounded Marine to a safer location and promptly applied a tourniquet to stanch the bleeding. Madrigal also called in three consecutive close-air-support missions, leveraging a section of AH-1 attack helicopters to target the enemy positions.

Even after these airstrikes, he noticed that some insurgents continued to attack. As a casualty evacuation helicopter approached, it began to receive enemy fire. and Madrigal immediately got back on the radio guiding the helicopter away from the hot landing zone. Madrigal was awarded the Silver Star for his actions.

The Marines of 5th ANGLICO coordinated and provided support for supporting arms and forward air control operations in the Helmand province during their 2011-12 deployment. Their efforts were in collaboration with various international forces, including United Kingdom Forces, the Danish Battle Group, the Georgian military, and the 215th Afghan National Army Brigade.

To enhance their combat effectiveness, the Marines were divided into teams during deployment. Typically, a fire control team consisting of seven Marines would send two members on each patrol to call for close-air support when required.

On May 28, 2012, Sgt Julian Chase's team came under fire from four to five enemy machine gun positions while conducting a clearing operation. Despite the volley of enemy fire, Sgt. Chase stayed on the radio and gave detailed descriptions of enemy positions so other ANGLICO Marines could provide fire support for his team before he was killed in action.

ANGLICO teams working with Afghan security forces and Georgian soldiers helped to train and advise them on the use of artillery and other fire support capabilities. This allowed these forces to become more self-sufficient in conducting their own operations and provided them with the necessary capabilities to support coalition efforts.

For the Georgian soldiers, the collaboration with ANGLICO was also of immense value. It took place in the broader context of Georgia's ongoing partnership with NATO and its aspirations for further integration into Euro-Atlantic security structures. The ANGLICO training not only enhanced the Georgian military's operational capabilities but also aligned them better with NATO standards and protocols.

ANGLICO Marines and Sailors were deployed as part of a Georgian Liaison Team when they were attacked with a suicide vehicle-borne IED in 2019. The attack killed three Marines from 25th Marine Regiment.


One of the most significant engagements involving ANGLICO in Afghanistan was the Battle of Marjah in 2010. ANGLICO teams were attached to Marine infantry units and provided critical fire support, including artillery and close air support, as well as coordinating support from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The summer of 2013 marked a particularly challenging time, with two major attacks on Forward Operating Base Shir Ghazi and Patrol Base Orbi.



The first devastating attack targeted Forward Operating Base Shir Ghazi. The assault involved a car bomb, causing significant damage to the base's infrastructure and limiting its operational capability. Adding to the chaos, enemy forces launched an immediate follow-up attack. Despite this, the skilled and disciplined Marines and Sailors at Shir Ghazi successfully repelled the assault.

Shortly thereafter, Patrol Base Orbi fell victim to a similar car bomb attack. The destructive force was so severe that it left the base completely destroyed and non-operational, posing a serious setback for the forces stationed there.

Throughout these trying times, ANGLICO Marines and Sailors demonstrated their proficiency and resilience by successfully coordinated air support during both incidents, playing a pivotal role in managing the situation and mitigating further damage and potential casualties. Their actions attest to their vital role in such complex and dangerous environments.

Overall, ANGLICO's contributions to the Global War on Terror demonstrated the importance of their specialized capabilities in providing effective and coordinated fire support to ground forces in a complex and dynamic battlefield environment.

Today, ANGLICO units remain a critical component of the Marine Corps, providing essential fire support capabilities to Marines operating in a variety of environments and situations.