CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Nineteen U.S. Marines were commended by U.K. Royal Air Force Group Capt. Guy van den Berg, the commanding officer of the 903rd Expeditionary Air Wing and airfield manager, for their superior service while working in a joint environment aboard Camp Bastion Jan. 25.
The Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), have spent the duration of their six-month deployment transporting casualties from casualty evacuation aircraft to emergency medical services, supporting any distressed aircraft approaching the airfield, and training for tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel.
“The Marines that work on the domestic side, the ones who respond to CASEVAC emergencies, have some slow days, and some days it can be busy, unfortunately ,” said Staff Sgt. Uriah Gruber, the training chief for the ARFF Marines. “It can be a very stressful environment, but the Marines out here are, for one, fully trained and have good support from their staff and [noncommissioned officers] to overcome that.”
Van den Berg recognized the unwavering dedication to duty demonstrated by the Marines and U.K. service members alike while working in such an important and stressful capacity.
“I wish to thank you for your efforts and commitment in the difficult and stressful duties that you have carried out unfailingly during your time as a firefighter at Camp Bastion,” said van den Berg while addressing the ARFF Marines. “I am delighted at how you have bonded with your Royal Air Force colleagues in becoming part of a determined and efficient team, always ready to react in a most professional manner to any situation.”
The Marines will return to their home stations in the near future, and continue to train and operate in a similar manner – ensuring the safety of aircraft and personnel aboard Marine Corps air stations throughout the West Coast.