Photo Information

A 7-ton-truck convoys through the Al Jazirah desert July 24 during a convoy while retrograding repair and replenishment point San Francisco. The Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing spent more than 5 days removing equipment from the replenishment point. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. George J. Papastrat) (Released)

Photo by Cpl. George J. Papastrat

San Francisco goes retro; MWSS-172 completes retrograde mission at RRP

29 Jul 2008 | Cpl. George J. Papastrat

Early in the morning before the moon settled and the sun rose above Al Asad Air Base, Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 began a convoy to the northern area of Iraq to start the retrograde process of a repair and replenishment point.

The squadron, belonging to 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), traveled more than 100 miles through the sandy terrain, arriving at RRP San Francisco in the Al Jazirah desert of Iraq, July 23. For more than five days the Marines worked countless hours to load up vehicles, generators, food, water and other supplies and other gear, effectively dismantling the RRP they had built four weeks prior.

“RRPs are designed to go up and down quickly because they are expeditionary – expedient fueling and repair sites for units supporting missions away from a base,”  Capt. Chris Eyre, the detachment commander for RRP San Francisco.

While in operation, the RRP facilitated logistical support for tank and aviation operations in support of Operation Defeat al-Qaeda in the North. The Marines dispensed more than 96,000 gallons of fuel and supported repair and logistical needs for more than ten tanks and numerous other vehicles.

Along with ground equipment, the squadron refueled aircraft flying missions in the area.

Traditionally, aviation support squadrons like MWSS-172 build and man forward arming and refueling points specifically designed to support aviation squadrons, according to Sgt. Maj. Roger E. Jenness, the sergeant major of Marine Wing Support Group 37, under which MWSS-172 falls.

The Okinawa-based squadron had the capability to support the helicopter pads and repair needs of aviation assets as well as the skills and the equipment to support the needs of the tanks and ground vehicles operating in the area, explained Eyre.

In addition to logistical support for the RRP, Marines from the squadron’s incident response platoon, supplemented by Marines from the squadron’s companies, provided security for the replenishment point day and night to ensure the safety of all those working within the area.

All around, “We were the right fit for the mission,” Eyre added.