News: MWSS-171 mobilization exercises improve expeditionary abilities
Story by Lance Cpl. Charles Clark
IWAKUNI, Japan - Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 Marines conducted flight line and harbor expeditionary exercises here Dec. 12 through 16.
These exercises were meant to show Marines how much time, assets and manpower is needed for the squadron to respond in an expeditionary manner.
The quick mobilization of the squadron during combat scenarios also helped Marines improve their mission readiness.
”This not only helps us with our jobs, but also with the national security of Japan,” said Cpl. Nicholas R. Garcia, MWSS-171 embarkation non-commissioned officer in charge. “Learning how to respond quickly has always been a staple of the Corps. Responding quickly here could save the lives of both Americans and Japanese.”
The squadron moved approximately 80 percent of its gear and personnel during the exercise.
“This is great for our Marines to learn their gear and how to move it in a timely fashion should we be called to do so,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bradley S. Gilmer, MWSS-171 mobility officer. “This is what Marines do as an expeditionary force with a 24-hour turnaround time. We protect America and her allies.”
Approximately 20 MWSS-171 Marines received M16A4 rifles as an advanced landing party to secure the area for the staged equipment during a combat scenario.
Marines staged their large equipment upon completion of the flight line operations. Gear such as the tractor rubber tired articulated steering multipurpose vehicle was used to stage the majority of the gear, at the harbor for seaside transport.
“We have air field and port operations at our disposal,” Gilmer said. “Iwakuni is perfect for expeditionary exercises. That is one of the great benefits of being here.”
The exercises revealed any deficiencies the Marines could experience during movements, such as this, and fix them.
“I think this is a great way for us to perfect our jobs so we are prepared for any situation,” Garcia said. “Being in Japan, we have to be able to protect our host country to the best of our ability.”
Exercises like this are executed annually during Key Resolve and Foal Eagle.
“Based off the success of this internal mission, I think we will be able to perform exercises like this more in the future,” said Lance Cpl. Michael A. Futia, MWSS-171 heavy equipment operator. “This keeps the squadron on its toes and increases our abilities to perform as Marines.”
This is the first time MWSS-171 has been able to perform an exercise on this scale without supporting a unit deployment program squadron.