U.S. Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 concluded exercise Kamoshika Wrath 17-1, Jan. 28, 2017, after training for a week at Japan Self-Defense Force’s Haramura Maneuver Area in Hiroshima, Japan.
The exercise marked the completion of Phase II of the squadron’s annual training plan, focusing on establishing forward operating locations and providing airfield operation services.
“We’ve separated our annual training plan into five different phases and this was our second phase capstone event,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Kevin Wheeler, operations officer for MWSS-171. “MWSS has a large number of different military occupational specialties and jobs, and throughout the year the phases will give us an opportunity to test all those different skills.”
Marines with Headquarters and Service, Motor Transport, Engineering, and Air Operations companies worked on their specific tasks to complete the exercise.
“We had our companies split off into separate sites,” said Wheeler. “They ran their own sites, but they were able to support themselves out in an austere environment. The Marines set up everything from food service, field laundry and showers to a 96-foot by 96-foot expeditionary vertical takeoff and landing pad, something we haven’t done here with field preparation.”
Different companies from within MWSS-171 came together and saw how their job affected the mission as a whole.
“We built survivability positions with heavy equipment company,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Anthony Cornman, a combat engineer with MWSS-171. “We had to have a lot of cooperation with all the other sections in the squadron to be able to build a forward operating base, defensive positions and be able to run patrols out of it.”
Conducting the exercise at Haramura Maneuver Area allowed the Marines to operate in a scenario-based, realistic training environment.
“We can’t build survivability positions a lot in garrison,” said Cornman. “There’s no place to dig up dirt, cut down trees that we need and lay everything out. It was a good experience there because a lot of us haven’t done this since the school house.”
The exercise increased the squadron’s state of readiness and acted as a building block for increasing proficiency in command and control.
“I was looking forward to seeing the staff work together during the exercise,” said Wheeler. “In garrison there are a lot of conflicting interests, priorities and tasks that we need to accomplish. Out here we are solely focused on supporting our Marines, the Marine aircraft group, aviators and making sure they have everything they need to take the fight to the enemy.”