Photo Information

Pfc. Gregory M. Tessmer, a bulk fuel specialist with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, feeds a hose to Lance Cpl. Travis Potter and Lance Cpl. Michael Magaris, also bulk fuel specialists with MWSS-373, to add fuel to a 600-gallon reserve tank Aug. 25. The tanks are used to supply fuel to aircraft and ground vehicles.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Steven H. Posy

Fuel for thought: Marine Wing Support Squadron 373 makes aviation possible

8 Sep 2010 | Lance Cpl. Steven H. Posy

As four F/A-18D Hornets roar and fly across the sky, one can not help but marvel at their grace and power; what is truly marvelous, however, are the Marines behind the scenes who make it possible for those birds to fly.

From engineering and building fuel farms in Afghanistan to providing security for ground units, Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 373 work around the clock to ensure Marine Air-Ground Task Forces receive enough support to be fully operational.

“Our job is essential, as we provide doctrinal and functional support to aviation and ground units on base and overseas,” said Capt. David C. Nicol, the airfield operations company commander.

Although MWSS-373 is one squadron, it is divided into different sections that are responsible for multiple operations essential to Marine Corps forces abroad.

More than 690 Marines from MWSS-373 provide motor transportation utilities, Marine police units, crash fire and rescue units, casualty evacuation, security, engineering, weather and fuel operations services to ensure air and ground units are operational.

“We provide the foundation for a fully functional MAGTF,” said Sgt. Javier D. Rincon, a bulk fuel specialist with MWSS-373. “We are self sustainable and are the backbone of aviation and ground elements.”

The fuel operations unit of the squadron receives, tests, cleans, transports and distributes fuel to ground vehicles, aircraft and fuel sites. They also provide maintenance for Forward Arming and Refueling Points. Once a FARP is constructed, a Forward Operating Base can be built, said Rincon.

Engineering units build and maintain fuel farms. The farms are tactical fuel sites serve as fueling stations between FOBs and assault points for aircraft and ground vehicles.

The squadron’s expeditionary airfield unit builds hard deck flight lines anywhere aircraft are needed, explained Rincon.

“We prepare units who are deploying and provide support to those who are already deployed,” said Rincon. “In Afghanistan, our squadron is responsible for six FOB’s.”

Although they are behind the scenes, the Marines from MWSS-373 play a crucial role on the air station and to our mission in Afghanistan. Without them, our operations would not be possible.