News: Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 provides aviation ground support during Cobra Gold 2011
Story by Lance Cpl. J Nava
KORAT, Kingdom of Thailand – Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, traveled to Thailand to support Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st MAW, during Exercise Cobra Gold 2011.
MWSS-172’s role is to provide aviation ground support to the Aviation Combat Element of MAG 36.
“We’re solely here to provide the air ground support for MAG-36,” said Sgt. Austin Gagner, utilities noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Engineering Operations Company, MWSS-172. “Without the communications equipment, utilities, heavy equipment or anything like that, the MAG wouldn’t operate.”
Comprised of four companies: a headquarters, motor transport, engineering operations and airfield operations, MWSS-172 boasts more than 80 different military occupational specialties within its ranks.
MWSS-172 is able to provide services from crash, fire, rescue and explosive ordnance disposal to bulk refuelers and even acquiring billeting for the rest of the MAG.
Some MWSS-172 Marines say they are one of the most vital components of the ACE.
“Everything you see out here was transported, moved around and set up by us,” said Lance Cpl. Sean Chilson, heavy equipment operator, Engineering Operations Company, MWSS-172. “We’re the only ones out here with that capability.”
The Marines at MWSS-172 have a large workload due to the high operational tempo at the ACE,.
“We work long hard hours. Sometimes the set up is very intense, but we’re able to get through it because of the Marines we have,” said Gagner.
“[MWSS-172’s] Marines do more with less. We bring out a small amount of people, and we work them as hard as they can go,” said 1st Lt. Benjamin Neff, communications officer, MWSS-172. “Every one of them is a highly skilled professional, and they do the best job they can everyday.”
Neff said MWSS-172 owed its success to one more thing.
“I believe we have some of the best Marines in the Marine Corps,” Neff said.
For more information about Cobra Gold 2011, visit www.marines.mil/cobragold2011 or www.facebook.com/exercisecobragold.
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