Photo Information

Cpl. Tyler Craven, a combat engineer with combat engineer company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, places a sandbag as part of a defensive tower to provide protection against simulated enemy assault during an annual training and readiness exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Aug. 14.

Photo by Sgt. Marcy Sanchez

Defense: No sweat for Sweathogs

22 Aug 2013 | Sgt. Marcy Sanchez

Marine Wing Support Squadron 273’s engineer company erected a defense position as part of a company field exercise aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Aug. 12-16.

The exercise assisted in familiarizing the company with mission essential tasks due to recent restructuring within the company, allowing more experience Marines to supervise and assist junior Marines in the fortification.

“Some of these Marines have done this before, but we have a lot of new Marines who are enthusiastic about the exercise,” said 1st Lt. Carolynn Aranha, platoon commander for Combat Engineer Platoon. “By combining the construction defensive and manning defense at one time, the Marines put a lot of effort into the construction and can take more of the learning into long-term applications.”

The exercise kicked off with an 8-mile hike on Aug. 12, leading into the construction of the platoon-sized defense position where the company was evaluated on their proficiency in defensive planning, base defense operations, communications support, Heavy Equipment support, and basic defensive skills.

For Marines who have been with MWSS-273 for some time, the exercise offered them an opportunity to refresh their skills in defensive construction and tactics.

“[Marines] are getting a lot of valuable training,” said Sgt. Taurean Battle, a draft and survey chief with Engineer Company.  “Since I’ve been here, we haven’t been able to do this type of training. A lot of Marines do this in MOS school and it’s the last time they do it.”

To prepare for the exercise, Marines received instructions on patrolling, defensive scenario drills, Improvised Explosive Device training and other training from instructors with the Marine Corps Engineer School, based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

“It’s something we don’t normally get to do, setting up wire obstacles,” said Battle, a native of Pine Level, Ala. “In [combat] you’ll see a lot of Constantine wire, log obstacles and log hurdles will be on the road to deny enemy access to a certain areas.”

According to Aranha, a native of Mosier, Ore., the training is essential to meet annual training and readiness standards and creates a heightened level of awareness for the construction of the obstacles through acted out scenarios.

The exercise concluded on Aug. 16, with an evaluation of the Marines defense both structurally and tactically when simulated enemies attempted to break down the defense front with paintball equipment simulating a very possible situation in a deployed environment.

“Were doing a lot to keep the intensity really high,” said Aranha. “It’s really good to actually get them out and do this.”

“Just to see the fruits of your labor, to know that it’s serving a purpose and see it being used is rewarding,” said Battle.

MWSS-273 provides all essential aviation ground support to the fixed-wing component of a Marine Aviation Combat Element including 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.