MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Combat — fighting an enemy hand-to-hand or with long-ranged weapons to either seize a territory or to preserve a way of living. While in those combat environments, service members must know how to not only defend themselves but how to survive as well.
The Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 departed Dec. 2 and 3 and made their way to Range Echo-21 at Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Ga., for their yearly field training exercise called Battle Hog.
Battle Hog is a 10 to 12-day field exercise the squadron conducts in order to get its Marines and sailors tactically ready for warfare by firing weapons, performing land navigation, living in anomalous surroundings they are not usually accustomed to and giving them a chance to execute their Military Occupational Specialties in the field, according to Master Sgt. Kenneth Tensley, the MWSS-273 operations chief.
“We have certain training we must accomplish in order to meet the requirements as a Marine wing support squadron,” Tensley said. “We are taking this time to set up battle sites and conduct convoys and other combat-exercises in order to be mission-capable within a Marine Corps unit.”
This is the first time MWSS-273 is using Fort Stewart as its training site for Battle Hog. In the past years, Battle Hog was held at Camp Lejeune’s training sites but has switched locations because Fort Stewart was more resourceful and conveniently located.
While the squadron is at Battle Hog, it will be carrying out various convoys, working and sleeping in field tents and be employing field mechanisms they learned during boot camp on how to be self-sufficient in the field.
According to Sgt. Todd Smith, a motor transportation operator and the convoy commander for Battle Hog, the exercise is a way for each company and section to come together and see each others’ job proficiency within the squadron.
For some of the Marines and sailors involved this is their first time in the field or in a training environment like this, according to Tensley.
“Coming from (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and transitioning to a new command, this whole experience will be new to most of the squadron,” Tensley said. “I expect them to learn the basic fundamentals of a convoy coming from a major highway, refueling on the go and getting more hands-on with their jobs rather than their usual day-to-day assignments.”
Not all of the Marines and sailors are new to Battle Hog. For many, this will be a chance to pass on their knowledge and expertise to other service members who have never stepped foot in this type of environment.
“With this being my second Battle Hog training exercise, I am expecting the newer and junior Marines to sharpen their proficiency skills in their MOS and take a lot of the training they are receiving during this exercise and apply it to their future endeavors,” Smith said.
Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 is slated to return to the Air Station, Dec. 14. The squadron will return with new knowledge and better understandings on the importance of each section and unit’s job for future deployments and exercises.