Photo Information

Master Sgt. Richard Thomas, operations chief with Engineer Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 274, instructs one of his Marines on the proper procedures for felling a tree with a chainsaw, Jan. 28, 2015. The MWSS-274 engineers were clearing and preparing an undeveloped piece of land aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River for a forward arming and refueling point to be utilized as a future training area.

Photo by Cpl. Jorden Wells

MWSS-274 engineers battle weather, elements to prepare future training facility

2 Feb 2015 | Cpl. Jorden Wells The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines with Engineer Company, Marine Wing Support Squadron 274, transform an undeveloped piece of land at Marine Corps Air Station New River into a forward arming and refueling point Jan. 28, 2015.

Once completed, the FARP will have three separate landing areas for rotary aircraft and be utilized as a training facility. The new area will give the air station units a new training tool to increase the overall readiness, which will aid in future deployment training and work-ups.

“One of the major obstacles we are having to contend with out here is the abundance of stagnant water on the landing pad sites,” said Master Sgt. Richard Thomas, the company’s operations chief. “We have to drain a lot of those areas of that water so we can come in and do some light earth work.”

Another major obstacle the engineers faced while preparing the training area was the removal of many of the surrounding trees. They used many different tools for removal, including chainsaws and heavy equipment.

“We have to clear a lot of the trees from several different future roadways,” said Thomas. “We are also working on the land quality to improve its California Bearing Ratio, the measurement used to determine the density and stability of the soil, which will allow the fuel trucks and other heavy equipment access to the training area.”

The Marines began their task of preparing the land in mid-January and have a completion date set for Feb. 9.

“All of the Marines that have been a part of this project have been doing an outstanding job,” said 1st Lt. Bradley Kuczynski, the company’s heavy equipment platoon commander. “This land had produced many obstacles for the Marines to overcome, and it is just great to see such a high level of work ethic and skill application on this operation.”