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America's Squadron sees action in training exercise

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 1/26/2004

Story by Lance Cpl. David Revere

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan(January 23, 2004) -- Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 executed a variety of training exercises last week throughout the Station.

Penny Lake Field was the hub of operations, buzzing with perimeter security, and boasting a medical facility and chow hall.

"The intent of the week's exercise was to train in a variety of scenarios that exercised MWSS-171's ability to conduct AGS operations in a dynamic, ever-changing environment," said Capt. Sean C. Killeen, MWSS-171 operations officer.

"The highlights of the exercise centered around the Rapid Runway Repair," noted Killeen.

The triple R method is used to locate dents and bomb craters in an airstrip. Marines determine what needs to be repaired for the use of incoming and outgoing aircraft and fill the holes using the necessary triple R fill kit.

"With the Station's cooperation, the Engineer Company dug a 20-foot crater on a relatively unused portion of the runway, where we conducted steps necessary to rapidly repair a runway in the event of an attack," said Killeen.

In addition, the Marines placed a partial Tactical Airfield Fuel Dispensing System on the taxiway and refueled an AV-8B Harrier, presenting a rare opportunity to actually lay in a site.

According to Killeen, the opportunity to set up a base camp was perfectly facilitated at Penny Lake Field. "The establishment of a full-up operational base camp at Penny Lake site enabled many of the squadron's additional capability sets to be tested, such as the provision of power, the production of potable water, the establishment of an active field mess, and the exercise of an active defense via a standing security force," said Killeen.

In the midst of the camp, several Marines gathered on Wednesday afternoon around a large, mobile power generator to train on it's operation and maintenance.

"We enjoy providing power for the whole camp," said Sgt. Elmer Chavez, MWSS-171utilities platoon electrician. "We get out of our normal environment and get everyone some training."

Chavez appreciated the opportunity to see how the squadron worked holistically. "Everything is related in a combat environment," he said. "It's important to see where you fit in the big picture."

"This week MWSS-171 trained as a team and, as a result, when it comes time to execute, whether in additional training scenarios or in support of actual contingencies, they will be able to effectively operate together to accomplish the missions of defending, sustaining, and regenerating damaged airfields for MAG-12," said Killeen.

Pfc. Gary Wayneshatcer, 171' combat engineer, enjoyed being part of the repair team for an airfield crater. "This will teach me how to be more efficient in planning out the operations of what I have to do in the future," he said.

Besides practical training, the exercise proved to be a positive experience overall.

"I pretty much joined the Marines to go places and do things that I wouldn't be able to normally do," said Wayneshatcer. "This gets me out of the barracks and doing something I enjoy."

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