News: MWSS-271 wraps up field exercise
Story by Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 practiced base recovery after attack and convoy techniques during an exercise at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, N.C., Sept. 16.
MWSS-271 can keep airfields operational through any circumstance, even after enemy mortars put craters in them.
The squadron simulated an attack with simulated artillery rounds detonating and medical emergency situations playing out to offer realism to the training. Marines reported to the nearest bunker for the duration of the attack.
When the attack ended and the Marines were accounted for, the squadron sent a damage assessment team to check the airfield and surrounding facilities for anything needing immediate repair. Their priority was to reopen the airfield for aircraft as quickly as possible.
“We make sure the aircraft are able to take off and still able to provide that first line of defense for us,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Mallet, a damage assessment team member.
After the damages were assessed, the repair team fixed the problem areas.
“Emergency repairs are important because when you’re in Afghanistan and take indirect fire, or when generators go down, you have to have it back up for the shock trauma treatment platoon, for example, to save lives,” said Cpl. Logan Godfrey, who headed the repair team. “When it goes down, it needs to come back up. It’s got to be back up to support (troops) on the ground.”
At the same time as the base recovery after attack drill, other elements of the squadron practiced combat scenarios.
The motor transport section familiarized themselves with convoy operations. According to the scenario, the convoy was sent out to recover a vehicle that was separated from a convoy and stuck in a mud pit. The Marines kept their eyes peeled for ambushes and IEDs, and coordinated their actions against these threats.
“It’s great training,” said Sgt. Jamison Michael Jr., the convoy commander during the mission. “It’s getting these Marines into this muscle memory of what we do upon contact or actions upon objectives once we get to where we’re going.”
When the convoy discovered the IED, Marines dismounted the convoy and cordoned off the area as they searched for possible suspects. Master Sgt. Tyrone D. Davis, the air base ground defense coordinator for Marine Wing Defense Squadron 271, walked the Marines through basic infantry tactics in the scenario.
“I teach security posture,” said Davis, who described his role as the infantry adviser for the squadron. “I think it’s extremely valuable. They have to know this because they’re not always going to have (infantry) as security for them. They need to learn to do this themselves.”
Once they area was cleared, a wrecker pulled a 7-ton truck out of a deep trench filled with water.
Lance Cpl. Kenneth E. Thurston, a wrecker operator with the squadron, said he tries to get the most out of the training because in real-world operations lives may be on the line.
“Every time I’m setting up a truck, I time myself and I try to beat my last time,” said Thurston.
The Marines said the training is all about preparedness.
“The recovery at the dig pit gave the wrecker operators an opportunity as well to go out there and train on different types of recoveries,” said Master Sgt. Eric Holt, the motor transport chief for the squadron. “The more we train, the better we are in the event we deploy as a squadron.”