News: Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 prepares for Exercise Forager Fury III
Story by Lance Cpl. Luis Ramirez
IWAKUNI, Japan - Service members with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 began preparations for Exercise Forager Fury III, Aug. 15, 2014, at the harbor aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.
With Forager Fury III slated to commence in September, MWSS-171 is preparing the equipment they intend to use for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat flight training, as well as combat support training.
Marines and Japanese contractors began the loading of approximately 300 units of heavy equipment into a barge that will travel to Tinian.
“Loading our gear is just the first step to getting the exercise under way,” said Warrant Officer Matthew Hansen, the mobility officer for MWSS-171. “We can’t complete our mission without the proper equipment, that’s why we have to make sure we work diligently and efficiently to prepare the gear before it heads to Tinian.”
Hansen said there is a lot of work that goes into getting the equipment on to the barge. Humvees and bulldozers have to be lifted via an All-Terrain Crane on to the vessels deck, then secured in place, as well as driving 7-tons and Logistics Vehicle Replacement trucks, better known as LVSRs, into the barge’s cargo hold.
All the heavy lifting is done while Marines and Japanese contractors move in and out of the cargo hold, as well as on and off the vessel deck.
“One of our main goals during the loading process is to ensure the upmost safety of the Marines throughout their time in the harbor,” said Lance Cpl. Javier Flores, an embark specialist with MWSS-171. “Any accident out here will not only slow us down, but it also has the potential to set the entire exercise back.”
Flores added that the process of moving the equipment on and into the vessel is like an elaborate machine; all the moving pieces work in unison to accomplish the mission fluently with no friction.
As MWSS-171 Marines complete their work at the harbor, the vessel will make one more stop in Okinawa before concluding its journey at the Tinian port.