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MWSS-171 begins historic desert training

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Members of Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 came to the Combat Center for the first time for Enhanced Mojave Viper Training.

The squadron based out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, took part in convoy operations training at Rang 205 as part of their EMV training, Sept. 7.

“This is the first EMV that my unit has participated in,” said Lt. Col. Howard Eyth, commanding officer, MWSS-171. “We saw an opportunity to deploy a company sized element from Iwakuni to Twentynine Palms.”

This training is not part of a pre-deployment workup, but part of the unit’s annual training. MWSS-171 is continuing their training at EMV in the upcoming weeks.

The unit was here practicing their aviation ground support, specifically their motor transport operations.

“The Marines are here training in the motorized operation training course,” said Capt. Roy Agila, logistics officer, MWSS-171. “They’re here getting better at their (military occupational specialty,) which is operating a motor vehicle and suppressing fire, (among other things.)”

The Marines practiced their mounted convoy operations with the help of the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group.

TTECG had an opening in their training schedule and there took full advantage of the opening, Eyth said. They wanted to get as much training as they could when they were out here for EMV.

The limited training area at the Iwakuni Air Station doesn’t give the Marines of MWSS-171 an opportunity to train in live-fire scenarios and in larger scale operations.

“The quality and the scope of the training packages that are available in Twentynine Palms cannot be replicated in Japan or anywhere else in the PACOM area of operations.” Eyth said. “There are no field training environments in Iwakuni. The ability of coming out here and being able to do live-fire and maneuver and motorized vehicle operations is unique.”

The Combat Center’s ranges gives more than 50 Marines of the motor transport company the chance to work as a whole unit in their maneuver exercises.

“The training we get out here in Mojave Viper is like day and night to what we have in mainland Japan,” Agila said.

“We look forward to repeating this experience, when our schedule allows,” Eyth said.

Article by Lance Cpl. D.J. Wu, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms