News: MWSS-472 gains traction on 'Workhorse' turf
AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 provides a variety of services during expeditions over Iraq's dusty trails. The list of accomplishments compiled during their four-month deployment is impressive: Pumping more than 4.7 million gallons of fuel, delivering 50,000 articles of mail to servicemen and women across Iraq, serving more than three million meals, transporting 60,000 pounds of cargo and conducting more than 70 route clearance missions, just to name a few.
MWSS-271 transferred authority to MWSS-472, Oct. 13. As MWSS-271 wrapped their squadron colors around its wooden post, signifying their closing moments here, MWSS-472 unfurled their red and gold standard to take its place.
"Marines, I absolutely appreciate your efforts," said Lt. Col. Paul D. Baker, commanding officer of MWSS-271. "Without a doubt, the 'Workhorses' of 271, officers, staff [non-commissioned officers], NCOs, the Marines and sailors, we could not have done this without you, the team."
MWSS-271 ensured the turnover went without a hitch, giving MWSS-472 a positive start in continuing their common mission.
"We are very fortunate to be able to fall into an excellent situation, which they worked hard to prepare for us," explained Lt. Col. Rory S. Langran, commanding officer of MWSS-472. "Our goal is to maintain a seamless transition from '271 to '472 and ensure that 2nd [Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward)] continues to receive responsive [aviation ground support] throughout Al Anbar Province."
MWSS- 472 will continue providing support similar to that of their predecessors, but their operational focus will change over the course of their deployment.
"Our main focus during this deployment will be in two phases," said Langran. "The first phase is currently on aviation ground support. This includes ensuring that the MAW has the ability to perform its mission at any time and place using the organic assets of an MWSS. Our mission will start to change though when it is time to shut down operations at various Forward Operating Bases and Air Bases. At that point, we will be more focused on a responsible retrograde."
For many years, MWSS squadrons have provided much-needed assistance in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the time nears when their specialties will no longer be required here.
Langran stated, "A successful deployment of the squadron will ensure that there is a lasting and positive impression of all the good work previously accomplished by our 10 sister squadrons throughout the Marine Corps. This is indeed a significant milestone as the last MWSS in Iraq. We have the ability to leave a positive stamp on the accomplishments of 24 previous rotations of MWSS [squadrons] since OIF began six and a half years ago."