MWSS-171 conducts airfield damage repair training
By Lance Cpl. Joseph Abrego, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- U.S. Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 simulated repairs to damaged runways during airfield damage and repair training at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, April 19-20, 2017.
The ADR training focused on becoming more efficient in situations that may require Marines to act in real-world scenarios to maintain the tempo of aircraft operations.
MWSS-171’s mission is to provide aviation ground support requirements to a designated fixed wing component of an aviation combat element and all attached elements of the Marine Air Control Group.
“This is our main mission,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jeffrey Aceti, a combat engineer with MWSS-171. “It’s vital that we all know this, and it’s not something that we can do every day because it takes a lot of coordination. We need to make the most of the opportunities we get to conduct this training.”
Coordinating the training requires factors such as transportation, safety and readiness throughout the unit.
“We had to fill out paperwork for a corpsman to ensure safety,” said Lance Cpl. Ethan Amen, a combat engineer with MWSS-171. “We had several transportation capacity planning tool requests to motor transportation for the vehicles, and we also had to ensure that we had all the gear to do our job like the hammer, chainsaw, concrete mixers and everything that coincides.”
The Marines used several techniques ranging from cutting and filling concrete to shoveling rock and dirt to fill and repair craters.
“We start with putting ballast rock down for water to pass through,” said Aceti. “Then we place layer of geo textile that keeps dirt from falling through, then we lay sand grid, a hexagonal plastic, that gives extra support when we compact dirt inside so aircraft can pass over without ever falling in. Once that’s done we bolt fiber glass reinforced plastic on top.”
Aceti said despite having newer Marines and overcoming the rain draining into the craters, everything went well. He added the Marines worked efficiently together and prevented injuries from occurring.
Enhancing the capabilities of the Marines within the squadron is vital to the support of their overall mission.
“It’s mission essential,” said Amen. “If we ever do get attacked and the runway was bombed, or if an aircraft crashed and damaged the runway we would have to react quickly and work efficiently to ensure operations keep moving forward. This is good training and we make the most of every opportunity we have to train like this.”