BOGUE, North Carolina -- Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 demonstrated their expeditionary capabilities during a Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue, North Carolina, March 14-18, 2016.
“Our mission here is to construct a 96-by-96 AM-2 aluminum matting vertical take-off and landing pad,” said Master Sgt. Jason Romero, an expeditionary airfield staff non-commissioned officer in charge with MWSS-272, Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “We design the pad and the groundwork, and have it certified and ready to accept incoming aircraft.”
Romero said a landing pad of this size would typically take about one day to construct, but that does not account for the advanced planning requirements.
“A couple of months in advance, we’ll do a site survey and test the ground, and surveyors will measure elevations,” said Sgt. Patrick Jagow, the project coordinator for the exercise. “Before we begin laying down the pads, engineers come and flatten the ground. Once the pads are down, we’ll install six-foot aluminum stakes to keep the pads from coming off the deck or moving from side-to-side.”
Once preparation work came to an end, Marines locked the matting together in an offset pattern over the expanse in a matter of hours. They secured the matting into place, marked it with chalk, and installed lighting around the perimeter.
“This V/TOL pad is designed for longer-term, rather than a hasty landing zone,” said Jagow. “It can be used by any rotary aircraft for forward arming and refueling point operations, and forward operating bases; as well as, casualty evacuations.”
The evaluation greatly reflected MWSS-272’s mission to provide aviation ground support to enable a composite Marine Aircraft Group and supporting or attached elements of the Marine Air Control Group to conduct expeditionary operations.
“I think my Marines have been doing great,” said Romero. “They’ve been working well as a team and getting the mission accomplished.”