News: MWSS-171 drivers, operators assist in MALS-12 relocation
Story by Cpl. James Smith
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan - Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 motor transportation and heavy equipment operators continues to assist Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 in movement of equipment as they make their way to the new facilities aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Jan. 15, 2014.
The initial movement began Jan. 6, 2014, and is part of the Defense Policy Review Initiative.
“Right now, we are moving all of the flying squadrons on station minus (Marine Wing Support Squadron 171) and (Marine Aircraft Group 12) headquarters,” said Capt. George Ivascu, MWSS-171 Motor-t Company commander. “Our mission is to provide motor transportation and heavy equipment support to the Marine Aircraft Group.”
Ivascu added that the operators are moving Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, Marine Transport Squadron and the Fleet Readiness Center, as well as Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, once they arrive.
With MWSS-171 providing the lift capability for MAG-12, both motor-t and HME operators are able to receive some well needed training.
“The operation builds the proficiency and confidence of our motor transportation operators as well as the heavy motor equipment operators so that in a combat environment, they’re confident in their equipment,” said Ivascu. “There are no training areas aboard station and this is a way we can practice convoy operations, along with air field, motorized and heavy mechanical equipment operations.”
Training exercises that take place in rural areas, such as Exercise Thunder Horse, can provide operators the chance to enhance their abilities.
Motor-t and HME operators are able to load three mobile facilities at a time, move from one side of the airfield to the new facilities and offload the gear in an average of 20 minutes.
“This movement displays our strengths as operators and how we come together as a unit,” said Lance Cpl. Austin Boatright, motor transportation operator with MWSS-171. “This state of readiness shows how we are able to move a squadron anywhere in no time.”
With several ground-guiders assisting and directing the movement, all operators ensure there is little error throughout the operation.
“The biggest thing for this movement is safe and efficient movement of cargo and equipment,” said Ivascu. “That is paramount for the accomplishment of the mission.”
Ivascu concluded that although MWSS-171 Motor-T Company has a deadline of April 1, 2014, the operators’ skill in moving the equipment has put them ahead of schedule.
A ribbon cutting ceremony in March 2014 signifies that new MALS-12 facilities will be fully operational.