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Sweathogs return to Air Station

10 Sep 2004 | Cpl. Micah Snead

The last group of Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 returned to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Sept. 3 and 4 after a six-month deployment to Iraq.

The squadron’s advance party returned Aug. 18 while the remaining 300 Marines returned Friday and Saturday.

“It feels great to be home,” said Maj. Brian D. Harrelson, executive officer, MWSS-273. “That was a long deployment.”

The squadron deployed to Iraq in February to join Marine Wing Support Group 37 in support of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing operations. The deployment was a the second consecutive trip to Iraq for some of the Marines who were augmented to MWSS-272 based at MCAS New River in 2003.

The squadron provides support for forward operating air bases and all Marine aviation operations while deployed. While based here, they provide ground support to units such as airfield communications, weather services, expeditionary airfield services, aircraft rescue and firefighting, aircraft and ground refueling, essential engineer services, motor transport, messing, chemical defense, security and law enforcement and explosive ordnance disposal.

The Marines spent time at several different locations in Iraq, including Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Camp Al Asad and other sites in the country assisting security and stabilization operations.

After completing administrative work and safety training, the Marines will be given time off before returning to normal operations aboard the Air Station.

“We did our jobs and brought everyone home safely,” Harrelson said. “Now is the time to enjoy ourselves and appreciate our loved ones.”