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MWSS-273, 1-151st ARB join forces for convoy operations

By Lance Cpl. Kel Clark | | October 23, 2009


Marines constantly train for combat operations, whether going on detachments from their home base or training with other services such as the Army, Air Force or the Navy.

Air Station Marines had the opportunity to train with the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 1-151 Attack Reconnaissance Battalion from McEntire Joint National Guard Base during joint close-air support exercises Oct. 14 and 15.

The convoy started at Fightertown and went to Lemon Island. The operation’s mission was for Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 to deliver supplies to friendly forces; however, the convoy was scheduled to be ambushed by “insurgents” to disrupt the supply route.

To keep supplies going, Marines used a variety of systems to identify the threat and called in air support to destroy the targets.

They also notified the convoys to pull off the road so the AH-64D Apache Longbows could eliminate the enemy and make it safe for the humvees to continue the convoy.

Beaufort Police Dep-artment sheriff officers patrolled the convoy, allowing for a traffic-free operation. They also participated in assisting the Marines and soldiers during the operation by locating the insurgents as well.

“The purpose of this procedure was to teach the (service members) to train as they fight,”  said Tony Diaz, the joint interface control officer with Marine Aviation Command and Control Systems. “This was joint unit level unit training for both the Marines and the soldiers to be able to work together for future operations.”

After the supplies were delivered to the “allies,” the convoy safely returned to the Air Station.

“We have been working with the Marines here for the past five years,” said Army Maj. Jay McElveen, the operations officer for 1-151 ARB. “We have been working with their F/A-18s and learning how to implement their knowledge into our aircraft for close-air support.

“To be able to work with (the Marines) in joint operations was a wonderful feeling, especially since we deploy a lot in joint service areas and situations,”  McElveen continued.

The time spent aboard the Air Station was outstanding for the soldiers, according to Army Lt. Col. Ray Davis, the battalion commander for 1-151 ARB.

“This was a continuation with the relationships we have already established with (Fightertown Marines),” Davis said. “When we all are conducting close-air operations together, it’s a win-win situation for us all.“The Marines have been nothing short of awesome to us,” Davis continued.