Welcome Home: Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 returns from Afghanistan

12 Oct 2010 | Lance Cpl. Justin M. Boling

Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 returned to their families early in the morning Oct. 2 after a seven month deployment.

The 48 Marines were deployed to Afghanistan to support Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.

“Many of us volunteered to go help out,” said Cpl. Rafael Nigron, a bulk fuels specialist with MWSS-273. “After around six months I am glad to be home with my family.”

Marines from weather forecasters to bulk fuels specialists were needed to achieve the increased number of troops that President Barack Obama requested to maintain his projected time schedule for the operations in Afghanistan.

Many of MWSS-274’s work sections required noncommissioned and staff non commissioned officer positions to carry out the manpower requirements during their deployment.

“These Marines were requested to fulfill surge number requirements to support increased efforts inside Afghanistan,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Regan, commanding officer of MWSS-273. “After the Marines who volunteered and others that were requested were finalized they only had 30 days to complete all necessary training.”

Marines had to complete some training at U.S. Army Post Fort Stewart, Ga., which included the operation of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle and cultural training.

All Marines who deployed performed their occupational specialty alongside Marines from MWSS-274, which initially presented some difficulty that had to be overcome.

 “It took awhile for everyone to get used to how the other squadron operated,” said Nigron. “To be successful we all had to learn, grow and operate together and after a brief period we were all one team.”

For many of the Marines with MWSS-274 this was their first in-occupation deployment. Many had only served in security billets or had never deployed at all. The deployment offered some problems but also a few unique opportunities.

“Being attached to a different squadron during this deployment presented so many rare opportunities for other Marines and allowed me to lead in higher billets, while in a deployed environment.” said Nigron.

According to Regan, Lt. Col. Anthony Ference, the commanding officer of MWSS-274, would often report that he could no longer tell his Marines apart from those of MWSS-273.

Many of the Marines even managed to win awards and NCO or Marine of the Month or Quarter.

“They all did a fabulous job,” said Master Sgt. David Ellis, the SNCO in charge of bulk fuels for MWSS-274. “Until these Marines got off the aircraft I didn’t remember if they were mine or not.”

The 48 Marines from Fightertown learned through trial by fire that the statement one team, one fight is more than just words - it is how Marines operate.