The Marine Aerospace Division is a specialty branch of the Union Marines tasked with any and all flight duties in the Marines' mission profile. Unlike their Naval Aerospace Arm peers, the pilots and crews of MAD have as an explicit goal to get as close to the action as possible — to close with the enemy, or the engagement, whether it be ground, sky, or space — and apply direct fire support. Wherever Marine combat units go, they are able to summon an awaiting MAD unit to provide fire support, observation, bombardment, reinforcement, or extraction.
Casually referred to as Madmen (for MAD-men) or Madpills by their comrades-in-arms, the pilots that constitute the Division are among the hardiest in known space. Many of them have backgrounds stemming from other starfighter corps in the Galaxy, or have risen through the ranks of the "groundpounders", pursuing an extended opportunity to take flight training. Nearly every Caspian warship or installation has Madmen attached to it, whether it be as bonafide strike fighter pilots or as operators of lifter craft.
Of special note, the CAG of a Flight Group cannot be a MAD officer, since the Marines, in their "mobile" state, are not assigned to a specific ship or larger unit. Instead, they are attached to a unit, and fall under the direction of that unit's commanding officer first and foremost. If they are berthed aboard a carrier, they operate under the disclosure of the Admiral as a "force asset", and not an asset of that exact ship.
Primarily seen in support, either directly or indirectly, of Marine operations, MAD pilots are given tasks that include: strike, assault support, tactical bombardment, precision bombardment, asset denial, aggressive reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and interdiction. They specialize in close air support, or close engagement support. If needed, they can also provide ship or installation defense, but this is only implemented if all NAA resources have been exhausted.
They are also aptly skilled in the operation of lifter craft, especially the L-2xx -series of transport lifters. Other roles to perform include: electronic countermeasures, operation coordination, and the transport of fellow Marines on insertions, assaults, or recoveries.
Because of these roles, MAD pilots are thoroughly trained, at least in simulation, on Marine ground combat tactics. They're also put through extensive survival training, and are very adept at fire-and-manuver tactics. They've received substantial hand-to-hand combat training, as well as remedial close-quarters combat training. While certainly not designated as combat soldiers, they are nonetheless required to, as officers, provide adequate showing of themselves if the event of ship defense of a boarding assault arises.
- Weapons & Sensors Operator (WSO) — used on Tac Centurions, Prowlers, and Hellhawks outfitted for EWR&S roles.
- Crew Chief — found on Hellhawks, Halcyons, or shuttles to manage cargo and personnel activity aboard.
- Fitter — since MAD units are not considered an asset of a specific ship or installation, they have ascribed their own craft support personnel. This person is responsible for the operational status of any craft in the MAD unit, and answers to the commanding officer of the unit. Must coordinate with flight support personnel (such as the Boatswain or Deck Chief) of whichever ship or installation the unit is assigned to, if applicable.
- Rigger — any Fitter's assistant(s).
MAD flight crew attire begins with the flight suit, a synthetic, closed-weave garment designed for use in zero-G (space) and high-G (atmosphere) environments. The suit is often coloured in a subtle camouflaged pattern, typically with either a slate green or steel grey as the base. Knees and elbows are reinforced by additional material.
The ground jacket, or duty jacket, is worn when away from flight operations. This is a more traditional military jacket, in a longer cut and of a slate-green colour. A blued-steel wire encircles the left shoulder, with the squadron patch located on this shoulder as well. The Caspian MAD Crest is on the opposite shoulder. Rank insignia pins are located on the collar. Unlike their NAA bretheren, MAD pilots wear a sidearm holster at all times, but this is due to their status as Marines, as they have added responsibility in guarding, boarding, and raiding activities.
During flight operations, they don a heavy space survival vest. Dubbed the combat vest, it's not only decked out with multiple pockets and attachment points for essential gear, but has remedial armor plating woven into it to retard injury from shrapnel tearing through the cockpit, or after an emergency ejection. These pilots are trained heavily in survival tactics, since they have a much higher chance of being shot down in atmosphere by planetary defenses. As a matter of necessity and tradition, a vibroblade is sheathed within the combat vest itself, readily at hand. The Marine's F8cVr version of the aerospace helmet tops off the uniform.
Dress uniform for the MAD is the Marines' flint-black heavy tunic with red piping and silver accents over steel grey slacks and red trim. A steel grey beret is worn when off-ship; while aboard, it is clipped into the epaulette.
MAD pilots are typically qualified, and equipped, to fly:
- SubPro/CDMC Z-100c Strike Centurion
- SubPro/CDMC Z-100d Tac Centurion
- SubPro/CDMC Z-105ir Prowler
- Lokkai/CDMC L-202 Hellhawk
- Lokkai/CDMC L-200 Halcyon
Known Units Edit
- CMTOS-17 Nighthawks, CMS Typhoon
- CMTOS-21 Wildcats, LIA
- CMTOS-24 Solspines, CMS Turbulent
- CMEWS-27 Snowweavers, CMS Tempest
- CMTOS-33 Lucky Leafs, Camp Virta, Sahkjalin
- CMTOS-49 Firedancers, Toresta, Mergansar
- CMTOS-52 Stormcrows, CMS Tempest
- CMTOS-55 Furious Fencers, CMS Hurricane
- CMEWS-101 Steeleyes, CMS Typhoon
- CMTOS-103 Wolfpack, Trinumvira, Caspar