Photo Information

Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Marines fight the fuel pit fires during the Sept. 14, 2012 insurgent attack on Camp Bastion, Afghanistan flightline.

Photo by 120914-M-ZZ999-001

MWSS-273 named Marine Wing Support Squadron of the Year

18 Apr 2013 | Cpl. John Wilkes

Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, also known as the Sweathogs, was named the Marine Wing Support Squadron of the Year by the Marine Corps Aviation Association, April 1.

The James E. Hatch award recognizes the superior performance of a Marine Wing Support Squadron. The winner is chosen by the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ Aviation Awards Board. MWSS-273 is slated to be presented the James E. Hatch award during an awards banquet at the Marine Corps Aviation Association Reunion and Symposium in Reno, Nev., May 18.

The mission of Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 is to provide all essential aviation ground support to a designated fixed-wing component of a Marine Aviation Combat Element, and all supporting or attached elements of the Marine Air Control Group. This support includes: internal airfield communications, weather services, expeditionary airfield services, aircraft rescue and firefighting, aircraft and ground refueling, essential engineering services, motor transport, messing, chemical defense, security and law enforcement, airbase commandant functions, and explosive ordinance disposal. Additionally, in garrison MWSS-273 is tasked to supplement air station facilities and services.

Over the course of their 2012 deployment, MWSS-273 provided uninterrupted aviation ground support and planned, staffed, and executed critical projects on tight timelines in unforgiving environments to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) at seven different locations. The squadron executed two aircraft recoveries, numerous combat logistics patrols and constructed an air-site at Combat Outpost Shukvani, Afghanistan.

"Much of what we accomplished during our deployment are things others would have thought too difficult," said Lt. Col. William S. Kohmuench, MWSS-273 commanding officer.

For example, MWSS-273’s proudest moment was the recovery of a downed MV- 22B Osprey ten days after arriving in Afghanistan and two days before taking over the area of operation.

"[During our deployment] we issued nearly ten million gallons of fuel to over 25,000 coalition aircraft and over 2,500 ground vehicles," said Kohmuench.

MWSS-273 executed numerous high priority projects such as the construction of 26,000 square feet of office spaces for two different flying squadrons, and numerous other aviation combat element consolidation projects, all on or ahead of schedule.

"The Sweathogs were inspired to do more than many thought possible and maintained high morale in the most austere, remote and harshest circumstances," said Kohmuench. "Our achievements are a direct reflection of the potency and tactical proficiency achieved through significant unit training, cohesion, and understanding of supported unit requirements."

"I am humbled and extremely proud of the Sweathogs and their achievements," said Kohmuench. "I’m especially proud of the way our noncommissioned officers responded to exceptionally high expectations. Under first-rate NCO leadership, we executed the largest, most complex MWSS actions for decades."