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Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 based out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, practiced vehicle convoy operation near the Combat Center's Noble Pass training area Sept. 11, 2012.

Photo by LCpl. D. J. Wu

Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 perfects skill

14 Sep 2012 | LCpl. D.J. Wu

The motor transport section of Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, based out of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, conducted vehicle recovery training near Combat Center's Noble Pass training area Sept. 11, 2012.


Vehicle recovery training is a part of MWSS-171's motor transport training during their training cycle at Enhanced Mojave Viper.

“The scenario we're practicing today was on a humvee needing to be recovered,” said 1st Lt. Robert Arellano, company commander, Headquarters and Services Company, MWSS-171. “Their job is to secure the site, recover the vehicle and then tow back the humvee.”

The motor transport Marines are focusing on all aspects of the job. They came to the Combat Center to accomplish their annual training requirements as well as expand on their capabilities.

“This is my third time at Twentynine Palms for training,” said Cpl. Joshua Velasquez, motor transport operator, MWSS-171. “This is the first for the unit, but it was interesting to see how they handled it.”

The convoy left Camp Wilson to find the downed humvee in the Noble Pass training area. While on their way, they had to keep a tactical mind set and be on the alert for possible improvised explosive devices.

There was also a change to this convoy. Instead of having their platoon commander lead the exercise, three of the unit’s noncommissioned officers were in charge of the unit's movement.

“We have three sergeants leading the convoy today,” Arellano said. “We wanted to transition the responsibility of the convoy commander to the NCOs.”

The training experience at the Combat Center is unique for the Marines of MWSS-171.

This is the first time that a unit from the 1st Marine Air Wing came to train in EMV.

“I think we're getting pretty good training out here,” said Lance Cpl. Mark Karwatka, motor transport operator, MWSS-171. “This place is a lot different than Iwakuni. We don't get this kind of training out in Japan. It's a different environment so we get to learn new things.”

MWSS-171 will be training at the Combat Center for one more week before flying back to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. As the completion of their training drew near, their company commander encouraged them to take in what the Combat Center had to offer.

“You guys are only here for a limited amount of time,”Arellano said. “Make the most of the time you have here. You have to enjoy.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms