MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Several units from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, constantly deploy to different countries in support of joint military exercises. What happens here while a majority of Marines are away?
Turns out, those buildings aren’t empty. Although the bulk of a unit is deployed on an exercise, there are a handful of Marines that stay in Iwakuni supporting the mission.
“When the unit goes anywhere, we prepare the gear, whether it’s cargo or personal equipment,” said Cpl. Devon David, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 embarkation specialist. “Once they leave, we need to keep track of when they’re coming back to have support provided for them when they do return.”
From administration to motor transportation, all Marines rush to complete their jobs here and assist their deployed brothers and sisters, even if it isn’t affecting their mission overseas directly, as there is one challenge constantly presented when Marines deploy.
“Our workload is the same, just with less people,” said Sgt. Brian Dreibelbis, MWSS-171 quality control noncommissioned officer in charge. “We fix the trucks so they will be ready for the operations that are coming up once they get back.”
For Staff Sgt. Leroy Brown, Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 administration chief, he is currently the highest-ranked Marine representing VMFA(AW)-242 in Iwakuni.
Brown said that he assumes the responsibility of the barracks manager, assists incoming Marines with check-in procedures and performs other miscellaneous tasks. In addition that, Brown is the main contact between VMFA(AW)-242 and the Marine Aircraft Group 12 sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. David Reaves.
While Marines from MCAS Iwakuni deploy to the four corners of the world working with foreign nations and strengthening military bonds, it’s those who remain behind that continue to provide support toward accomplishing the mission.