Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 Marines leave for Iraq from Okinawa
By Lance Cpl. Daniel Flynn
3rd Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan — More than 570 Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 left Kadena Air Base in three groups March 20, 22 and 25 for Iraq.
The squadron will provide aviation ground support and combat service support to Multi-National Force West in Anbar Province.
"The Marines are very excited about this opportunity," said Lt. Col. Matt R. Crabill, commanding officer of MWSS-172. "But it has been a challenging few months."
In the beginning of 2008 and the last half of 2007, MWSS-172 balanced regular operational commitments with the squadron's pre-deployment training requirements for Iraq.
The squadron supported engineering civil assistance projects in Cambodia in August and the Philippines in October, and the squadron deployed to Yuma, Ariz. for Exercise Desert Talon earlier this year.
Many Marines in the squadron have deployed to Iraq previously, and they said their experience is a valuable tool in leading the less-experienced Marines.
"This is my third deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan," said Sgt. Juan Castro, a platoon sergeant and heavy equipment operator. "I am sure I can help the new guys get used to it over there."
MWSS-172 is replacing MWSS-473, a reserve squadron that has been deployed for seven months.
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