Sweathogs bid farewell before Iraq deployment

13 Feb 2004 | Cpl. Kat Johnson

The Sweathogs of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 came together for a pre-deployment picnic on Tuesday to bid farewell to family and friends before leaving for    Iraq.

The MWSS-273 Marines and Sailors diverted from their normal working schedule to participate in the squadron function and to honor Staff Sgt. Troy M. McNeal, explosive ordnance disposal technician, MWSS-273, who was awarded the Bronze Star Medal Combat V.

“These Marines have been working very hard and we just wanted to do something to recognize the sacrifices they and their family members have been making,” said Lt. Col. Clarence V. Prevatt, commanding officer, MWSS-273.

At the beginning of the picnic Marines and Sailors of MWSS-273 were addressed by Maj. Gen. John G. Castellaw, the commanding general of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing,  addressed the Marines and Sailors with words of encouragement for their upcoming deployment.

“I wanted to tell you how proud I am of what you have accomplished,” Castellaw said. “I know as you join 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing you will be successful.”

During their deployment to Iraq, they will be attached to 3rd MAW.

Throughout the picnic the commanding officers and sergeant majors of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing and Marine Wing Support Group 37 greeted Marines, Sailors and family members of MWSS-273.

“They will do a great job,” said Sgt. Maj. William McKnight, Jr.,  wing sergeant major, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “They have been well trained for this.”

As the picnic came to an end, several Marines and Sailors remained to give their own farewell speeches and words of encouragement to the deploying Sweathogs.

They advised them on many subjects, including what type of weather they might encounter and how to properly label homebound mail.

“We are going over there to provide security,” said Lance Cpl. Robert McBride, crash fire rescue mechanic, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.

“I just came back from Djibouti, Africa with ’273, so I am kind of familiar with what I should take, but I could always use a few extra tips.”