Marine Air Support Squadron 3

Marine Air Support Squadron 3
Marine Air Support Squadron 3
MASS-3 squadron insignia.png
MASS-3 insignia
  • August 3, 1950–present
Country United States
Branch USMC
Type Aviation command and control
Role Provide the DASC
Part of Marine Air Control Group 38
3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
Garrison/HQ Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
Nickname "Blacklist"
"Landshark" (Vietnam)
Motto Ulla Tempore, Ullo Situ
"Any time, Any place"
Engagements Vietnam War
* Battle of Khe Sahn
Operation Desert Storm
Operation Iraqi Freedom
* 2003 invasion of Iraq
Operation Enduring Freedom
LtCol John C. Lewis

Marine Air Support Squadron 3 (MASS-3), is a United States Marine Corps aviation command and control unit that provides the Direct Air Support Center (DASC) for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. They are based out of the 32 Area on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California and fall under the command of Marine Air Control Group 38 and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.



Provide Direct Air Support Center (DASC) and DASC-Airborne capabilities for control and coordination of aircraft operating in direct support of Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Operations.”


Early years

Marine Tactical Air Control Group 2 was formed on August 3, 1950 as part of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Later that month they were redesignated as Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron 3 (MTACS-3) under Marine Air Control Group 2. On March 28, 1951 they moved under the control of Marine Air Control Group 3 (MACG-3).

The original Marine Air Support Squadron was composed of a Direct Air Support Center (DASC), and three Air Support Radar Teams (ASRTs). They utilized the AN/TSQ-122 Direct Air Support Central. The AN/TSQ-122 was a large control system housed in a rigid fiberglass modular structure. To provide an echelon capability, the MASS squadron also operated and maintained the AN/UYQ-3 air/mobile DASC. The AN/UYQ-3 could operate in a modified KC-130 aircraft, as well as on the back of a 2.5 short tons (2.3 t) truck. Together, the Marine Air Support Squadron was capable of supporting the full range of MAGTFs, up to and including a MarineAmphibious Force (MAF).

They received their current designation of Marine Air Support Squadron 3 on February 15, 1954. In October 1962, MASS-3 deployed to the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis but in December of that year were relocated to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.

Vietnam War

See "History" under Direct Air Support Center.

MASS-3 operated in Vietnam from November 1966 until June 1971. On January 16 and 17, 1968, Air Support Radar Team B (ASRT-B) from MASS-3 displaced from Chu Lai to Khe Sanh to handle ground controlled radar bombing missions. On January 20 the DASC was brought into Khe Sahn as well.[1]

During their time in Vietnam, MASS-3 Air Support Radar Teams controlled more than 38,010 AN/TPQ-10 missions, directing more than 121,000 tons of ordnance on 56,753 targets. They operated from Chu Lai and Da Nang during this time.

The 1980s and 1990s

In May 1980, MASS-3 again relocated, this time to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. In August 1990, the unit was deployed to Saudi Arabia and later participated in Operation Desert Storm returning home in March 1991.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

IRAQ – Lance Cpl. John A. Marcogliese of MASS-3 stands guard at one of several Olympic stadiums in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

MASS 3 began sending units to Kuwait in October 2002 as part of the troop build-up for what would become Operation Iraqi Freedom. MASS-3 provided air support for the 1st Marine Division from the Kuwaiti border to Tikrit and had units remain in country until the division redeployed in October 2003. MASS-3 returned to Iraq in January 2004 and provided air support for the Division again until January 2004. They again deployed to Iraq in early 2006 for the third time.[2] The unit deployed for another year long tour in Iraq beginning in early 2008.

Operation Enduring Freedom

In April 2010, MASS-3 deployed to Afghanistan for the first time in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. They supported combat operations in support of I MEF for a year while based at Camp Leatherneck.

Unit awards

A unit citation or commendation is an award bestowed upon an organization for the action cited. Members of the unit who participated in said actions are allowed to wear on their uniforms the awarded unit citation. MASS-3 has been presented with the following awards:

Ribbon Unit Award
Presidential Unit Citation with one Bronze Star
Navy Unit Commendation ribbon.svg
Navy Unit Commendation with one Bronze Star
Meritorious Unit Commendation .jpg
Meritorious Unit Commendation with three Bronze Stars
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal with two Bronze Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Southwest Asia Service ribbon.svg
Southwest Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Stars
Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg
Vietnam Service Medal with two Silver Stars and one Bronze Star
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Streamer
Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation Civil Action Medal
Iraq Campaign ribbon.svg
Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global war terrorism service ribbon.gif
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

See also



 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.


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