Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort -- Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort conducted field exercise 2-14 aboard Ft. Stewart in Hinesville, Ga., July 30 through August 8. Also participating in the exercise were Marines from Combat Logistics Company 23 and Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
The tasks within the exercise provide opportunities for Marines to train within their respective jobs while getting back to the basics of living in the field, weapon familiarization and land navigation.
“It helps improve our skills for deployments while improving Ft. Stewart’s facilities and training environment,” said Lance Cpl. Trenton Sees, an engineer equipment operator for MWSS-273.
Several projects and missions in the middle of FEX 2-14 included setting up and breaking down aluminum matting (AM2), making an apron for Ft. Stewart’s runway, setting up Marine Corps Expeditionary Arresting Gear, and Base Recovery After Attack.
The runway apron will serve a purpose for Ft. Stewart long after MWSS-273 leaves.
“Anytime you have more than one plane landing or taking off, [the apron] is where some would stay,” said Gunnery Sgt. Tommy Daniel, an engineering equipment chief for the Sweathogs, of the apron. “It keeps planes from interfering with traffic on the runway.”
Other projects, though less permanent, are vital training for the participating Marines.
Marines set up interlocking AM2 as a makeshift runway with twelve and six foot segments of matting laid out similar to a brick pattern.
They also set up MCEAG to build proficiency, said Staff Sgt. Lineberry, an expeditionary airfield systems technician with MWSS-273. The arresting gear took nine hours to set up with a limited crew, improved from the previous 13 hour set up time with a full crew.
Later, MWSS-273 conducted a Base Recovery After Attack.
“If we’re in combat, the first thing we need to do when attacked is repair the airstrip to continue to put aircraft in the air,” said Capt. Nicole Jansen-Hinnenkamp, operations officer for MWSS-273. “If we deploy and are attacked, we would be able to fix the airfield to make the Aviation Combat Element operational.”
The BRAAT includes assessing damage, medical actions, cleanup and getting basic mission necessities back on line.
Training such as this field exercise is a vital way to make note of and fortify weakness, increase ability, ensure consistency and improve overall quality of work completed.