FORWARD OPERATING BASE DELARAM II, Afghanistan --
The “Aces” with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) were up long before the sun preparing a necessary resupply mission in support of flightline operations here Nov. 7.
The Marines departed Camp Leatherneck with multiple tactical vehicles carrying 55-gallon drums of Envirotac II, more commonly known as “Rhino Snot,” several pallets of cement and slabs of AM-2 airfield matting.
The supplies contribute to the ongoing runway project, which will allow fixed-wing aircraft to land at FOB Delaram II.
Slab after slab of the aluminum matting is laid side-by-side to create a seamless expeditionary runway while the Rhino Snot is sprayed over the surrounding sand to prevent poor visibility conditions during takeoffs and landings.
Now, the small detachment of MWSS-373 Marines temporarily stationed here can continue to develop the flightline on schedule thanks to the efforts of their brothers and sisters-in-arms from Leatherneck.
“MWSS-373 as a whole has done an outstanding job,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joseph Szewczyk, expeditionary airfield services officer with MWSS-373 temporarily stationed at FOB Delaram II. “All the support we need is based out of Leatherneck. Our command has been giving us 100 percent and we are grateful for it.”
The completion of the runway later this month will create more logistical channels in western Afghanistan to be utilized by International Security Assistance Forces and allow FOB Delaram II to host the KC130-J Hercules.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this runway provides strategic implications,” said CWO2 Robert Joyner, heavy equipment operations platoon commander, MWSS-373. “It will give us the ability to reach further west and also resupply the Regimental Combat Team here.”
With the ability to resupply units here via aircraft, a significant burden will be lifted from the number of convoys traveling from other ISAF locations and reduce the threat of improvised explosive devices and other hostile activities on the ground.
“I think this is the right team for this mission,” continued Joyner. “And I know that we will be successful for our command.”
After the completion of the flightline project, the Marines and sailors with the Aces’ detachment will return to Camp Leatherneck, where they will support other detachments of their squadron engaged in similar operations throughout Helmand and Nimroz provinces.