Marine Wing Support Squadron 373 (MWSS-373) can trace its lineage back to Wing Equipment and Repair Squadron 37 (WERS-37) activated on 1 April 1967 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) El Toro, Santa Ana, California. On 31 January 1977, WERS-37 was restructured and re-designated as Wing Transportation Squadron 37 (WTS-37) as a result of the Marine Corps wide Combat Service Support reorganization concept. On 21 August 1998, MWSS-373 relocated from MCAS El Toro to MCAS Miramar. The Squadron's mission is to provide all essential aviation ground requirements to a designated fixed-wing component of a Marine Aviation Combat Element or to supplement air base facilities and services provided by a Marine Corps Air Station, when based thereon. This includes motor vehicle support, mobile electric power, heavy equipment, tactical aviation refueling, essential runway services, and second echelon maintenance. MWSS-373 is tasked to conduct airfield operations, less air traffic control, for supporting Aviation Combat Element units to include: internal airfield communications, weather, services expeditionary airfield services, crash/fire/rescue and structural fire fighting services, aircraft and rapid ground refueling, motor transport for operations internal to air base messing facilities, routine and emergency sick call and aviation medical functions, individual and unit training of organic personnel and personnel of selected support units, organic nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) defense, security and law enforcement services and air base commandant functions.
During August 1990 thru April 1991 MWSS-373 participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; while in Southwest Asia, the Marines and Sailors of MWSS-373 pumped over 29 million gallons of fuel to tactical aircraft, provided over 2 million meals, transported 46 million pounds of ordnance, produced 2 million gallons of potable water, treated 18,000 patients, administered 3,200 immunizations, provided water electricity and sanitation for 8 dispersed billeting areas and drove over 1 million accident free miles.
In July 1992, MWSS-373 became the first support squadron in I MEF to obtain 100% readiness following operations in Southwest Asia. In September 1992, MWSS-373 welcomed aboard the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit from Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11, adding a new dimension to the squadron. During December 1992 to May 1993, MWSS-373 provided 24-hour airfield embarkation support at MCAS El Toro for units deploying to Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. In providing this support, the Marines of MWSS-373 loaded over 100 aircraft with eight million pounds of cargo and equipment. During 1993 MWSS-373 deployed Marines throughout the Southwestern United States to provide support for two Combined Arms Exercises in Twenty-nine Palms, two runway repair projects at Bridgeport and Operation Mudslinger at Camp Pendleton in January 1993. MWSS-373 Marines were deployed to MCAS Yuma, Arizona to build a 10 foot high wall along several miles of border between Mexico and the United States. During the spring of 1994 MWSS-373 deployed as a squadron to three locations within Arizona. Each location completed a separate mission; all three missions were completed at the same time using only MWSS-373 assets.
Between January and March 1995, MWSS-373 deployed a detachment to Somalia in support of Operation United Shield to assist with the United Nations' withdrawal from that country. From December 1997 to June 1998, MWSS-373 also deployed an Offload Preparation Party detachment to Maritime Propositioning Force shipping as part of a larger U.S. effort to deter Iraqi interference with United Nations' arms inspections. During August 1998, MWSS-373 relocated to MCAS Miramar, San Diego, California as part of a base realignment and closure (BRAC) directed move.
In September 2001 MWSS-373 deployed personnel and equipment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in support of four separate Marine Expeditionary Units. In addition personnel were deployed on aircraft carriers in support of three separate VMFA Squadrons. In September 2002 MWSS-373 deployed personnel and equipment to Afghanistan in support of VMA-513 during Operation Enduring Freedom.
From January to June 2003 MWSS-373 deployed to Kuwait in support of I MEF for the initial offensive into Iraq. MWSS 373 constructed a 4,000 Marine base camp, and installed a 431,000 square foot Harrier parking ramp at Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait for elements of 3D MAW. During March 2003 MWSS-373 conducted FARP operations in the vicinity of Jalibah Airfield, Iraq in support of the attack on An Nasiriyah. Rapid runway repair of a 5,000 foot KC-130 operating strip at Jalibah Airfield was completed on the third night of the ground war. MWSS-373 then constructed a 3,000 Marine forward operating base (FOB) at Jalibah Airfield, Iraq in support of elements of 3D MAW. During the month of April 2003, MWSS-373 continued to conduct FARP operations at Tikrit Airfield, Iraq (northern most USMC FARP in Iraq) and Ad Diwaniyah, Iraq.
In August 2004 MWSS-373 deployed to Al Taqaddum, Iraq to support 3D MAW in providing Aviation Ground Support to the I MEF Marine Air Ground Task Force operating in the Al Anbar Province in western Iraq. MWSS-373 provided aviation ground support and limited combat service support from Al Taqaddum, Camp Korean Village, Camp Mudaysis, FOB Duke, and Camp Fallujah. In support of Operation Al Fajr in Al Fallujah, MWSS-373 provided fire fighting to respond to life-threatening off-base U.S. and Coalition force structural and vehicle fires, and EOD support to clear main supply routes between Al Taqaddum and Al Fallujah. At the conclusion of this deployment, MWSS-373 closed Camp Mudaysis.
In September 2006 to March 2007 MWSS-373 deployed again to Al Taqaddum, Iraq in support of 3D MAW (FWD) and Multi National Force-West in the Al Anbar Province. During this period MWSS-373 provided functions of aviation ground support and limited combat service support at Al Taqaddum, Camp Ramadi, Camp Fallujah, and Camp Korean Village. MWSS-373 provided response teams for IED activity in the vicinity of Al Taqaddum and Camp Korean Village. Additionally, MWSS-373 numerous road improvement projects, helicopter landing zone installations, and facility electrical renovations at sites throughout the Euphrates River corridor between Ar Ramadi and Al Fallujah.
From September 2008 to April 2009, MWSS-373 deployed to Al Taqaddum, Iraq to support the 3d MAW (FWD) and both 1st and 2d Marine Logistics Groups (MLG). During this period, a detachment of 223 Marines and Sailors provided aviation ground support and limited combat service support at Al Taqaddum, Camp Ramadi, Camp Fallujah, Camp Korean Village, Camp Baharia, Combat Outpost (COP) Rawah, FOB Mudaysis and FOB Sahl Sinjar. The detachment provided response teams for IED activity, route security/clearance, helicopter landing zone installations and played an integral role in the breakdown and retrograde of Camp Fallujah. An additional 370 Marines and Sailors of MWSS-373 deployed as the security force for Al Taqaddum, Iraq. The MWSS-373 Security Force conducted security patrols throughout Area of Operations Oshkosh, provided quick reaction force support, manned the entry control points accessing the base, and turned over West Camp Habbaniyah to the Iraqi Army.
From July 2010 through April 2011 MWSS-373 completed workups and training in anticipation of the deployment to OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) 10.2 and subsequent deployment to Afghanistan in support of OEF 10.2. While deployed, MWSS-373 conducted a Relief in Place (RIP) and Transfer of Authority (TOA) with MWSS-274 on the 26th of September 2010. MWSS-373 began providing Aviation Ground Support (AGS) to Third Marine Aircraft Wing [3D MAW (Fwd)] in support of OEF 10.2. The squadron took over and completed major construction projects on the new flight line cantonment areas for 3D MAW (Fwd) and a C-130 strip in support of Regional Command (Southwest) [RC(SW)] operations. Squadron staff continued planning with Third Marine Aircraft Wing [3D MAW (Fwd)] and the United Kingdom (UK) on the establishment and maintenance of Helicopter Land Zones/Sites (HLZ/Ss). MWSS-373 completed a total of three embedded resupply convoys to various forward operating bases (FOBs) in our area of operations (AO) supporting Operation Steel Dawn II and Operation Press. Additionally, the month of February was monumental in MWSS-373 annals as the first time in Afghanistan, an MWSS carried out a fully self-supported convoy with no external aid.