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Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan


Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MCAS Iwakuni is a mission-ready air station, capable of providing continuous base-operating support for tenant organizations and follow-on U.S. and allied forces during training, combat or contingency (HA/DR) operations throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region.
5 days, 89,000 gallons: Marines train for disaster

By Cpl. Kristin E. Moreno | | November 4, 2010

Marines of Combat Logistics Company 36 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 maintenance and utilities sections participated in water purification training at Penny Lake here Oct. 25-29.

The purpose of the training was to prepare Marines for possible natural disaster situations.

The Marines were given a mission to bring in and purify 8,000 gallons of water each day from both the port here and Penny Lake for a total of 40,000 gallons. They pulled in more than double their quota, bringing in 89,000 gallons of water.

“We come out here, set up all our gear and we test it out,” said Lance Cpl. Michael Banks, water purification technician for CLC-36. “We run trial and error, preposition checks and services, and make sure all our gear runs how it’s supposed to. Also, for the new guys who just got here, they haven’t touched the gear since the schoolhouse, so they get more comfortable with their gear.”

Staff Sgt. Archie Mardis, equipment chief for the exercise, said this is the first time doing the exercise due to former environmental limitations in Iwakuni; however, the intention is to hold the training quarterly.

“The training the Marines are doing right now is for the community, for Iwakuni and Hiroshima, in case something did happen,” said Mardis. “People need to know that the Marines are doing their best to make sure they can take care of our community.”

While the local community is the main concern in case of a disaster, the training can also be adapted to other places around the world and help build international relations.

“This will give us the opportunity to do humanitarian missions,” said Mardis. “If Thailand gets hit with a typhoon or something, we’ll be able to react and give them water. We need to know how to do our job here so if natural disasters do happen we can respond and produce water for other countries.”

In addition to preparing the Marines for disaster relief and getting them comfortable with the equipment, the exercise also helped build stronger internal relationships between CLC- 36 and MWSS-171, which is important because they work together a lot.

“The most important thing Marines should take away for the exercise is to maintain your gear and your knowledge,” said Banks. “It’s so easy to forget what you’ve learned and neglect all your gear, and then when it comes time for practical application, you won’t be prepared.”

The Marines finished off the week with new knowledge while refreshing what they already knew. The exercise familiarized the Marines with the water purification equipment and taught them how to react effectively and efficiently in case of a natural disaster.