MWSS-171 blasts through first stage of Eagle Wrath 2016
COMBINED ARMS TRAINING CENTER CAMP FUJI, Japan -- U.S. Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, completed the first stage of Eagle Wrath 2016 at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, July 17, 2016.
The annual exercise focuses on providing aviation-ground support to an assigned aviation combat element while reinforcing skills that Marines learned throughout their military occupational specialty schooling and Marine Combat Training.
“MWSS-171 came out here to meet their main training requirements that pertain to air base ground defense as well as having additional companies train to their individual needs,” said 1st Lt. Samuel Ernst, combat engineer platoon commander with MWSS-171.
Throughout the first stage, called the ‘personal and crew served weapon’ stage, Marines practiced the employment of M4A1 Carbines, M16A4 service rifles, M203 grenade launchers, AT-4 rocket launchers, M2 .50-caliber heavy-machine guns, M240 bravo light-machine guns, M249 squad automatic weapons, M67 hand grenades and MK19 grenade launchers. The Marines implemented some of these weapons while conducting table three rifle qualifications, a fire team employment exercise, squad patrolling practice, and machine gun employment and familiarization training.
“It’s important that Marines learn these skills because if we ever go into a combat environment, Marines will know how to employ different weapon systems other than their M16A4 service rifles and M4A1 Carbines,” said Sgt. Ryan Hill, a bulk fuels specialist with MWSS-171. “We can put any Marine on a M2 .50-caliber heavy-machine gun, and they will know headspace and timing as well as how to load that weapon.”
The squadron plans to complete their unit annual training requirements throughout three stages, which focus on air base ground defense and Marine Corps common skills that Marines are unable to train for locally.
The Marines now start the ‘company training’ stage where company commanders have the opportunity to train their personnel and prepare for the final culminating event where Marines will construct and defend a landing zone and refueling point.
“Each of the companies are being broken into their individual groups and will be conducting military occupational specialty specific tasks,” said Ernst. “For combat engineers, we are training with demolitions, more marksmanship familiarization, a shotgun range, claymore training and employment, and operations in urban terrain. I expect the Marines to employ what they know and complete their tasks on time while their skills are not affected from being in the field. The non-commissioned officers have been phenomenal so far and have made a good training environment so all the junior Marines are able to learn what they need to learn as well as challenge them with adverse conditions.”