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Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 established and set up a forward operating base during a field operation at Davis North, Jan. 13, 2016. Marines tested their support capabilities during a field operation, meant to hone their skills on airfield.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron Fiala

MWSS-272 tests support capabilities

22 Jan 2016 | Lance Cpl. Aaron Fiala The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 tested their support capabilities during a field operation at Marine Corps Outlying Field, Camp Davis, N.C., Jan. 13, 2016. MWSS-272 re-equips aircraft and provides engineering and runway services.

Marines with the unit simulated a brief security sweep of the area upon the start of the field op and then set up a forward operating base behind the flight line. The FOB had an aviation ground service operation center that tasked simulated missions for Marines to conduct. These missions prepared Marines for numerous situations they may face on a deployment.

One mission was a simulated attack that caused damage to the runway. Marines with Engineer Company were tasked with repairing two, one-foot-wide, three-feet-deep holes caused by enemy fire.

“Our company’s main focus today is to conduct base recovery after attack operations,” said 1st Lt. Courtney Thompson, the Engineer Operations Company executive officer. “The engineers’ function, in this case, is to support damage assessment teams and damage assessment and response teams.”

These teams focus on the recovery of runways, aircraft parking and facilities which are damaged during an attack. An expeditionary airfield is required so aircraft can land, refuel, resupply and get back into the fight. 
Another piece of equipment that’s provided by MWSS-272 is a portable system capable of stopping a plane.

Staff Sgt. Gordon Llewellyn, a runway supervisor with the unit, explained the use of the M31 Marine Corps Expeditionary Arresting Gear. It is a ground-based braking system used for tail hook aircraft and it allows pilots to make aborted takeoffs or emergency landings by catching the tail hook with a woven steel cable. The M31 is placed on each side of the runway and the tail hook of an aircraft catches on a when needed.

MWSS-272 is capable of providing emergency landing equipment for aircraft, securing an airfield, re-equipping aircraft and even repairing runways that are damaged from combat. 

“As MWSS-272 Marines, we support the guy who supports the grunts on the ground,” said 1st Lt. Bryan Hart, a logistics officer with the unit. “We provide aviation ground support to Marine Aircraft Group 26 as well as elements of MAG-29.”