OKINAWA, Japan -- The expeditionary nature of the Indo-Pacific theatre requires a focus unique to only a few areas of the world. The Aviation Combat Element fills a primary role in Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) and the Marine Wing Support Squadron is vital to the conduct of Aviation Ground Support while distributed across remote bases.
This month Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 is conducting a Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation (MCCRE) that will test their mettle while distributed in an EABO environment. This MCCRE will distribute MWSS-172 across Okinawa to execute simultaneous, 24-hour operations on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Ie Shima Training Facility (ISTF), Ukibaru Island, Irisuna Island, and Torii Station.
“The MCCRE training validates the squadron’s readiness to execute aviation ground support in Expeditionary Advanced Base environments and enables the force projection of 1st MAW units across the western Pacific region,” said Lt.Col. Jim Pryor, Commanding Officer of MWSS-172. “Challenging training develops the expertise and confidence to Fight Now, enable the lethality of III MEF Aviation Combat Elements and integrate with joint and partner forces against a near-peer adversary in our area of responsibility.”
A MCCRE is an evaluation that tests a unit’s ability to accomplish its mission essential tasks and must be completed before deploying or every two years. By executing MCCREs and realistic training, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and its squadrons are able to provide real-world practice for its Marines and Sailors. These rehearsals maintain an ever-ready force which provides III MEF with a lethal ACE.
The 2021 MWSS-172 MCCRE is comprised of multiple training events: M31 assisted aircraft recovery training at MCAS Futenma, Forward Arming and Refueling Points at multiple locations, Mass casualty drills, aircraft salvage and landing zone repair training.
Along with MWSS-172, other units and squadrons from across III MEF will be participating in this exercise. These units include: Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36, Marine Aircraft Group 36 flying squadrons, and 9th Engineer Support Battalion with 3rd Marine Logistics Group.
Each training event demonstrates the III MEF/1st MAW EABO concept. EABO is a future naval operational concept that enables naval forces to persist and operate forward within range of adversary long-range precision fires, in order to contest, control or deny sea space. EABO supports the commander’s scheme of maneuver, particularly in the vicinity of close and confined seas where control of key maritime terrain supports sea control and denial operations. EABs are designed to host, secure, sustain, and maintain warriors and their weapons systems on a more amorphous and difficult to target forward-basing infrastructure.
The MWSS-172 MCCRE will continue through the end of April.