On 13 June 1986, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 (MWSS-273) was formed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina, from elements of Marine Air Base Squadron 31, and Detachment Bravo, Marine Wing Support Group 27. The assigned mission of MWSS-273 is to provide all essential aviation ground support to a designated fixed-wing component of a Marine Aviation Combat Element (ACE), and all supporting or attached elements of the Marine Air Control Group (MACG). This support includes: internal airfield communications, weather services, expeditionary airfield services, aircraft rescue and firefighting, aircraft and ground refueling, essential engineering services, motor transport, messing, chemical defense, security and law enforcement, airbase commandant functions, and explosive ordinance disposal. Additionally, in garrison MWSS-273 is tasked to supplement air station facilities and services provided by Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC.
Since the formation of the Squadron, the "Sweathogs" of MWSS-273 have distinguished themselves tactically and professionally in the continental United States and around the world. In 1989, MWSS-273 provided extensive disaster relief support to the city of Charleston, SC, during the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo. During Operation DESERT STORM in 1990, the Squadron played a direct role in providing aviation ground support for United Nations forces conducting combat operations against Iraq. During Operation DESERT STORM, the Marines of MWSS-273 assisted in the construction of the largest expeditionary airfield in Marine Corps history at Al Khanjar, Saudi Arabia, in addition to several other major construction and transportation projects. Throughout the 1990's, the Squadron provided extensive operational support for Aviano Air Base, Italy, NATO contingency operations DENY FLIGHT and PROVIDE PROMISE, Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY in Haiti, Operation JOINT FORGE in the Balkans, Operation ALLIED FORCE and Joint Task Force NOBLE ANVIL in Taszar, Hungary, and numerous Marine Expeditionary Units. In addition to these operations, MWSS-273 has also provided extensive training and exercise support, both in and out of CONUS, to include named exercises BALTIC CHALLENGE, BALTIC CASTLE, ROVING SANDS, COMBINED ARMS EXERCISES (CAX), HORNET'S NEST, BATTLE GRIFFIN, FUERTES DEFENSES, DYNAMIC MIX, JOINT TASK FORCE 6, and NEW HORIZONS. MWSS-273 has extended its impressive record into the new millennium, providing support personnel for the ongoing Operation ENDURING FREEDOM taking place in Afghanistan, and exercises MOJAVE VIPER, DESERT TALON, and NEW HORIZONS.
Since 2003, MWSS-273 has twice deployed in Squadron strength to Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 05-07.2. The "Sweathogs" have established an impressive record as a forward deployed unit as they conducted 24 hour Aviation Ground Support operations at Al Asad Airbase, Al Taqqadum Airbase, Camp Korean Village, Forward Arming and Refueling Point Mudaysis, and Expeditionary Airfield Sahl Sinjar. During their most recent deployment, MWSS-273 was responsible for the tactical recovery of an unprecedented seven Coalition Aircraft. In only seven months, MWSS-273 provided over 28 million gallons of fuel to Coalition aircraft, conducted over 275,000 miles of motor transport operations, rendered safe 126 enemy explosive devices, destroyed ten enemy weapons caches, conducted over 11,000 hours of heavy equipment operations, two water main repairs, and four outside-the-wire construction missions to improve living conditions at local Combat Outposts.
In addition to its success abroad, MWSS-273 has consistently provided support for military and civic construction projects, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. Major projects completed by the Sweathogs include: The Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island's "Crucible," several physical fitness areas, the Summerville, SC parks and recreation athletic complex, Saint Helena Island's tornado clean-up, and erosion control efforts at Hunting Island State Park.
Unit Awards include the Navy Commendation Streamer, the National Defense Service Streamer, and the Southwest Asia Streamer with three bronze stars. The Squadron's Communication Platoon was named the LtCol Kevin M. Shea Marine Corps Communication Unit of the Year; the Fuels Platoon was named Marine Corps Aviation Association's Fuels Platoon of the Year for 2006. MWSS-273 was awarded the James K. Hatch Marine Wing Support Squadron of the Year award three times: in 2000, 2005 and, most recently, in 2009.
In June 2016 Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 (MWSS-273) was redisignated as Marine Wing Support Detachment 31.