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Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Lawrence Hulst, a Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 heavy equipment operator, clears brush on Paige Field, Nov. 19. The work of these Marines will improve the envirionment to better supprot the local wildlife and hunters.

Photo by Cpl. Justin M. Boling

Lending a helping dozer; MWSS-237 heavy equipment help out MCRD Parris Island NREAO

30 Nov 2012 | Cpl. Justin Boling

Marines always train to the same standard they will perform while forward deployed. For the heavy equipment op­erators of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, some recent training is helping to better the en­vironment. The Marine Corps Re­cruit Depot Parris Is­land’s Natural Resource and Environmental Af­fairs Office requested support from MWSS- 273 Engineer Compa­ny, Heavy Equipment Platoon to remove tree stumps throughout sev­eral locations across Parris Island. “Overall we have lever­aged a unique opportu­nity to train heavy equip­ment Marines in area clearing and mobility operations,” said Chief Warrant Officer Daniel S. Presley, the MWSS- 273 engineer equipment of ficer. “These projects save taxpayers money, and fill a need in the local and surrounding community.” Work began Nov. 14, and will continue till Jan­uary 2013. Removing the estimated 480 stumps will help support wildlife in the area. “The work is pretty straight forward,” said Cpl. Alex Branstutter, a MWSS-273 heavy equip­ment operator. “You make a couple passes and hopefully, unless the stump is huge, you can remove it.” While the heavy equipment operators of MWSS-273 call this an­other training evolution, the ef fect of their work means more than that for the habitat of MCRD Parris Island. “We are assisting to create areas for future food plots for the wildlife that live around Paige Field,” said Sgt. Mark Musselman, the squad­ron’s site manager for the project. “We are re­moving the stumps and clearing the debris, so it is nice and smooth to bring their planters in and plant seed.”The Marines utilized two John Deere 850J Me­dium Crawler Tractors and a 624KR Tractor, Rubber Tired, Articulat­ed Steering, Multi-pur­pose vehicles to begin the operation. A smaller bulldozer will also be used as work gets closer to completion and the larger equipment is no longer necessary.“The Marines have been doing an outstand­ing job,” said Mussel­man. “A lot of the Ma­rines are not familiar with performing this particular task with the equipment, but after per­forming operations sev­eral times they gained a high level of proficiency in it.”The knowledge and proficiency gained through this exercise will also prepare the Ma­rines to perform similar operations in a deployed environment.“This knowledge will assist the Marines in clearing operations to set up pads and other runways for landing nu­merous types of aircraft while forward deployed,” said Musselman. “The platoon is ensuring that we are rotating all of our operators out here to ensure they can get trained.”Marine Wing Support Squadron 273’s mission is to provide all of the ground support needed to support Marine Corps aviation operations. This includes airfield con­struction, maintenance and ground support such as refueling aircraft and aircraft recovery.

“This experience will definitely help operators be better at creating lev­el areas for airfield con­struction or roads when they are deployed,” said Branstutter.