Updated date:

The Airborne, Marine, Operation Center (AMOC); The Silent Sentinels of our Borders

Author:

Mike has a keen interest in the effects of politics in our culture. He has a unique way of simplifying complex concepts.

the-airborne-marine-operation-center-amoc-the-silent-sentinels-of-our-borders

Background:

I served in the Air Force in the late 50’s, during the time of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. I was a radar repairman stationed on remote radar sites in California, Japan, Mississippi, and Georgia, in that order. It turns out there is a group of us radar types in Southern California with the same experiences who meet for lunch at the Golden Corral in Anaheim, the third Wednesday of each quarter.

We are all members of the Radar Services Veterans (RSV) group. RSV is a nationwide online organization where those who served on world-wide radar sites, whether ground based, Texas Tower, or Airborne, can share their experiences and exchange “war stories.” Each week, a different radar site is recognized by the RSV and those who served on that site can share their experiences with the membership.

Well, it turns out, one of our luncheon members had connections with The Airborne, Marine, Operation Center (AMOC), a Homeland Security facility based at March Reserve Air force Base in Riverside California.

AMOC’s Missions (from Wikipedia)

AMOC's many missions include: anti-terrorism, countering smuggling, and stopping illegal immigration. The agency uses its aviation and marine assets to detect, interdict, and apprehend conveyances carrying terrorists, contraband, or undocumented aliens intending to enter the United States illegally.

AMOC's Detection and Interdiction Capabilities

AMOC leverages its unique detection and interdiction capabilities to support individual components of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice. They provide support to agencies and multi-jurisdictional task forces including:

  • ICE Homeland Security Investigations
  • The United States Secret Service,
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • The United States Coast Guard
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • National Special Security Events
  • Joint Interagency Task Force South accounts

To accomplish its missions, AMOC uses a multitude of fixed and rotary wing aircraft, and even unarmed versions of military Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

AMOC's Inter-operational Support

Air and Marine Operations Agents and Officers work with both U.S. and foreign agencies and military forces to support their law enforcement efforts. Personnel and assets are deployed abroad to support Department of Homeland Security priorities, most notably for foreign training and counter narcotics missions.

Our Introduction to AMOC

As you can see, AMOC has a very wide range of mission objectives, and responsibilities. There was eight of us on our tour. We were met by an agent at the main gate of the base. We were taken to a facility where we had to show our service records (DD214’s). We were then granted clearances and badges for the day. We then followed the agent to the AMOC facility.

We were met by the Director of the Facility and he explained the mission of AMOC. This was followed by a series of slides showing the assets and resources they use to accomplish their various missions. The director then asked each of us to introduce ourselves and briefly describe our duties and responsibilities while in the Air Force.

The Tour

We were handed off to one of the agents and he took us to the Operation Center. As we entered the Center, a huge situation board came into view. It looked much like a “jumbotron” with maps and symbology all over the board. There were rows of radar operators, looking at their screens and/or the board. A plate glass window separated us from the operators. But on our side of the window, there was a setup of a radar screen, computer, and other equipment that are used to demonstrate the operation of the center to visitors like ourselves.

AMOC Operations Center

AMOC Operations Center

AMOC Operations Center

The Demonstration

An agent turned our attention to the radar screen; he selected one of the symbols that was an actual airliner approaching LAX (Los Angeles Terminal). It showed information including, air speed, altitude, flight number, and flight plan. He then showed us on a computer screen, the flight plan of that aircraft and its history that is pulled up from databases that contain massive amounts of data on suspect air, land, and marine borne conveyances. He then let us select other aircraft symbols to let us experience how the system works. We found that we could randomly select symbols and the system would bring up massive amounts of information about any given selection.

The Stories

The agent then told us how the system is used to track unusual or suspect movements. He stated they saw a slow, low flying aircraft that was going back and forth across the border. It had no flight plan and it would regularly disappear from the radar in the same place. They contacted the border patrol who then went to the place where the aircraft disappeared off the radar.

It turns out it was an ultralight aircraft landing on an abandoned street. The ultralight was loaded with bags of “white stuff.” They apprehended the pilot and the aircraft. The point of the story is they can go from looking for usual movements on a macro level down to the micro level contacting local law enforcement to apprehend violators of the law.

Another story was about tracking an aircraft that would always depart from the same place in Oregon and end at night in the California dessert at the same place. Again, they contacted local law enforcement to be at that spot at night. It turns out, it was a deserted runway in the middle of the desert. As the plane was landing, they turned on the car headlights. The pilot saw the lights and pulled up and disappeared into the night sky.

The next time they saw the movement of the plane, they contacted local law enforcement and told them to keep their lights off until the plane landed. They did just that and when the plane landed, the pilot got out and could be seen destroying several cell phones. He waited under the wing of his twin-engine Cessna while they searched the aircraft and found bags of the “white stuff.”

After the Tour

After the tour, we bid our agents goodbye. We all came to the same conclusion that we can all sleep better knowing that AMOC is like a silent sentinel working behind the scenes 24/7 to protect our borders and work with other law enforcement agencies both domestic and foreign to apprehend the bad guys. The picture below is of us in the hallway of flags. We felt very privileged to take the tour as we said goodbye to our agent, Public Relations Officer, Heather Sullivan.

the-airborne-marine-operation-center-amoc-the-silent-sentinels-of-our-borders

At the Entrance of AMOC

the-airborne-marine-operation-center-amoc-the-silent-sentinels-of-our-borders

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Mike Russo

Comments

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on February 24, 2019:

Brad:

B: Then how do you explain that we have over 20 million illegal aliens, and our jails and prisons have over 2 million people. A large number of these prisoners are illegal aliens, drug dealers and street gangs for the drug cartel.

M: I didn't say AMOC was the absolute solution to everything you listed.

B: Then how do you explain that we have over 20 million illegal aliens, and our jails and prisons have over 2 million people. A large number of these prisoners are illegal aliens, drug dealers and street gangs for the drug cartel.

M: I didn't say that sleeping at night was a solution and I didn't say anything about our defense costing 20 T. AMOC had nothing to do with defending 911. I don't think it even existed then.

B: How do you explain $20 billion of illegal drugs from south of the border getting into the country. How did they get into the country?

Along with the drugs there were child trafficking and gun running.

Along with the drug and the other illegal products comes the criminals that distribute and protect their products. But you sleep OK at night because? because they haven't hit Placentia?

M: I don't have to explain anything. You make it sound like I'm responsible for those crimes. Your questions have distorted the purpose of my article and conflated it with all other types of crimes.

BradmastersOCcal on February 23, 2019:

Mike

"we can all sleep better knowing that AMOC is like a silent sentinel working behind the scenes 24/7 to protect our borders and work with other law enforcement agencies both domestic and foreign to apprehend the bad guys. "

Then how do you explain that we have over 20 million illegal aliens, and our jails and prisons have over 2 million people. A large number of these prisoners are illegal aliens, drug dealers and street gangs for the drug cartel.

We have convicted illegal alien felons, who crimes were violent felonies.

Using your sleep at night solution how do you explain 911, where 19 terrorists killed over 3,000 people on American soil. Tell us again how our National Defense that cost trillions of dollars helped defend the country on 911?

How do you explain $20 billion of illegal drugs from south of the border getting into the country. How did they get into the country?

Along with the drugs there were child trafficking and gun running.

Along with the drug and the other illegal products comes the criminals that distribute and protect their products. But you sleep OK at night because? because they haven't hit Placentia?

Joe Mercier on December 05, 2018:

Hi Mike,

Great overview of our tour of the AMOC facility. It was a very impressive revelation of what goes on behind Oz’s black curtain. I was gratified to know that we have people like them standing in defense of our borders. See you at our January get-together.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on November 15, 2018:

Miebakagh: You are becoming one of my best supporters, my friend. Have a great day.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on November 15, 2018:

Paula: It's good to hear from you again. Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you feel better about our border security. I wish more people were aware of AMOC. I wonder if Trump even knows that it exists!

Cheers, Mike

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on November 14, 2018:

Hi, fpherj48, thanks for keying in and commenting. Much more educative and interesting, but informing. Good day.

Suzie from Carson City on November 14, 2018:

Mike....Very educational & extremely interesting. No, I did not know and yes, I feel better about our border security. Thank you!

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on November 12, 2018:

Hello, Mike, I am on facebook. Thanks for commenting.

Mike Russo (author) from Placentia California on November 12, 2018:

Thank You for your comments Miebakagh. I had a friend in Toastmasters that is from Nigeria. His name is Akanni Olarewaju. You can search for him on Facebook. Are you a member of Facebook?

I can tell from you writing that you are an avid reader and very well read.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on November 11, 2018:

Hello, Mike, (peoplepower), thanks for sharing. I do not know you are once a serviceman. Liked it, as soldiering is interesting. I once attempted to join my Nigerian army but I was disqualified due to the age limit. I read because reading interested me and I am an avid reader. Good day.