| Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 History
In its first year, MWSS 274 set the bar high as it conducted multiple deployments. During this period, the squadron provided Aviation Ground Support (AGS) to three Combined Arms Exercises (CAX) in Twenty nine Palms, California. Additionally, MWSS 274 rounded out its heavy deployment cycle by participating in Cold Winter 87 at Evenes, Norway and Alpine Warrior 87 in Fort McCoy Wisconsin. While at home base Cherry Point, MWSS 274, began to build its outstanding reputation as the squadron was responsible for numerous developments on base and in the local community. Of note; the engineers constructed a four mile long fitness trail aboard the MCAS, and cleared over 50 acres of forested land that is now the Havelock, N. C. Community Park. This park provides recreational programs for the greater Havelock area.
In 1988, MWSS 274 constructed AV-8B Harrier hides at Marine Corps Outlying Field (MCOLF) Atlantic. During exercise Team Work 88, the squadron also provided AGS support to the first NATO AV-8B Harrier road operation, conducted in Evenes, Norway.
The Squadron began 1990 with exercises Alpine Warrior 90 in Wisconsin and Ahaus Tara 90 in Honduras. Shortly thereafter, MWSS 274 found itself facing the ultimate challenge of any Marine Corps Unit. It deployed to Southwest Asia in support of aviation operations during Desert Shield/Desert Storm where it was distinguished as a combat ready MWSS.
In January 1991, while still deployed in Southwest Asia, the Squadron shifted its focus from combat operations to Noncombatant Evacuation Operations. Supporting the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, MWSS 274 Marines executed Operation Eastern Exit in Somalia.
Returning from Desert Shield/Desert Storm, MWSS 274 deployed to provide AGS support for Marine Aircraft Group 40 to Bodo and Bardufuss, Norway for Team Work 92 and additionally to support Maritime Pre-positioning Force operations during exercise Ocean Venture 92.
The Squadron demonstrated its capability to foster goodwill with the local community in 1993, by constructing a Boy Scout Camp at Camp Bonner in Chocowinity, North Carolina. Having honed its engineering skills with the Boy Scout Camp, MWSS 274 employed these newly sharpened skills as it deployed to Current Island, Bahamas in support of hurricane relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Andrew. Continuing to foster good community relations during 1994, the Squadron embarked upon a major road construction project in the disadvantaged area of Harlowe, North Carolina. The road construction consisted of rehabilitating an unserviceable road leading to a small community in Harlowe.
In 1996, the Squadron devoted its time and efforts to improving its home, MCAS Cherry Point. Demonstrating excellence in engineering the squadron undertook a large-scale road construction project in the Ordnance Area aboard the base. This project included installation of a large culvert system which complemented the newly constructed road. Later that same year, the Squadron constructed a prefab log home for use by Marines aboard Cherry Point. "Hancock Lodge" provides a meeting place for organizations aboard the Station at low cost in one of the most picturesque areas of North Carolina.
1997 proved to be a challenging year for the Squadron. Assigned to support a Navy Carrier Air Group in Roswell, New Mexico, the Ironmen provided aviation ground support to include weather services, TAFDS, aircraft recovery (M21 arresting gear) and airfield security. Squadron overseas commitments included construction of a school, renovation of an orphanage and running a base camp for a JTF engineering exercise in Guyana. Additionally, MWSS 274 deployed to support Marine Aircraft Squadrons in Aviano, Italy where it supported flight operations over Bosnia-Herzegovina. A K-Span structure was built aboard Cherry Point, for use by the Station Rifle/Pistol Range. This year, the Squadron provided all refueling support to AV-8B Harriers due to a fuel problem that caused Harrier engines to burn up. This refueling task was conducted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over a year and a half. Not a single request for fuel went unanswered, no accidents occurred and no fuel spills occurred during the entire period.
In 1998, the Squadron provided AGS for CAX's 3-98 and 4-98. While supporting these CAXs, MWSS 274 Marines constructed 19 K Span structures for the new Camp Wilson complex. In March, the Squadron provided direct support to HMLA 269 at MCOLF Atlantic with base camp services, fuel, and motor transport support. Planning and execution of this evolution occurred over a 48 hour time period, demonstrating the Squadron's combat readiness at a moments notice. The highlight of 1998, the dedication of Creekside Park, was a two yearlong park construction project, by Governor Jim Hunt. Governor Hunt dedicated the park to the Marines of MWSS 274 for their concern for their community and their country. Utilizing MWSS 274 for the Creekside Park construction saved Craven County $1.8 million dollars in labor and contractor fees, while providing Ironman engineers with invaluable training and combat preparation.
The Ironmen began February of 1999 with a deployment to Norway in support of exercise Battle Griffin 99. The Squadron participated in a NATO exercise through supporting MAG 29 at Varnes Airfield, which included running a 2,000 man base camp, establishing a Forward Operating Base from the ground up at Aimo, Norway and participating in NALMAGTF operations. This combined NATO exercise tested the resolve of the Squadron to carry out its aviation ground support functions despite bitter cold conditions. Additionally, the Ironmen deployed to 29 Palms to provide AGS to CAX 9/10 99.
The first half of 2000, the Ironmen participated in numerous deployments. The full spectrum of AGS functions were utilized in support of numerous exercises and operations which took the Marines and Sailors of MWSS-274 to the far corners of the United States and the Southern Command's theater of operations. Among these deployments were exercise ASCEIT 2000, 26 MEU TRUEX, Special Purpose MAGTF, New Horizons project in Antijua, JTF-6 Padre Island, and Carolina Patriot. Amid the mass of deployment exercises, the Squadron continued their proud heritage of providing continuous and unparalleled support to both the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing and Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
In March of 2001, a detachment of heavy equipment operators, utilities operators and mechanics deployed to support the All Service Identification Evaluation Team (ASCIET) at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga. This training evolution consisted of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine units from CONUS. It proved to be invaluable training for all services preparation for future combat and non-combat missions. The skills the Marines of MWSS 274 honed through the ASCIET exercise would prove to come to action in the near future as the world witnessed the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
In response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the US began to call on its troops in support of the war on terror in Iraq. MWSS 274 responded directly in early 2002, providing augmentation to MWSS 271, MWSS 272 and to MCAS New River to support essential AGS functions in CONUS and abroad. A detachment of Combat Engineers deployed to St Kitts for hurricane relief, and a Motor Transport detachment deployed to Iraq in support of MAGTF convoy operations. The Marines deployed to OIF, subsequently, attached to both ground combat element and combat service support elements.
June of 2003 saw the colors of MWSS 274 cased, and the unit re-designated as MEU Service Support Group 22, in Support of the 22 Marine Expeditionary Unit. 70% percent of the Marines with military occupational skills normally staffed by FSSG, began training at Camp Lejuene's French Creek area. After earning the coveted Special Operations Capable (SOC) rating, MSSG-22 joined the Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group en route to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Pushing further inland than any other MEU in the history of the Marine Corps, the Marines of MSSG-22 conducted 98 days of continuous ground combat operations, setting a new standard of excellence and expectations.
In September of 2004 the Marines of the 22 MEU, returned home to MWSS-274, the last of the detachments in support of the growing war on terror, MWSS-274 was once again full-up, her colors uncased and proudly planted in there rightful place, standing by to support the next mission. A detachment was sent to Hati as a security force in response to civil disturbance in the area.
In March of 2005, MWSS-274 received the mission of Security Battalion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Marines of MWSS-274 reorganized to form a Convoy Security Company, Perimeter Security Company and a Headquarters and Service Company. After two months of training and preparations for this unique mission, MWSS-274 received orders to stand down, and begin preparations to support AGS missions for 3rd MAW. For the first time in over 10 years the squadron would deploy as a complete unit under her own colors. Meanwhile, MWSS 274 assumed command and control of Operations at Bogue field (an auxiliary air field located 20 miles East of Cherry Point). The Marines of MWSS 274 would soon deploy to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, earmarking their names in the history books for Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07. In preparation, the squadron deployed to Yuma, Arizona in December of 2005 to participate in the Desert Talon training operation. Desert Talon brought MWSS 274 together with sister squadron, MWSS 374 and the 2-224th Blackhawk squadron, for one final exercise to prep for its tour to Iraq.
The squadron entered the combat zone of Iraq to participate into Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07 in February 2006. While in Iraq, the squadron shined as it supported forward operating base Al Asad and forward operating base Al Qaim, with aviation ground support and combat service support. The Marines performed exemplary as they endured 7 months of sustained combat operations to the flight line, the FOB and outside the wire. Missions performed include but are not limited to; fueling, flight line repair, vertical and horizontal construction, heavy equipment operations, convoy operations, civil affairs operations, supply route repair, facilities maintenance, vehicle maintenance, communications operations, base security and counter improvised explosive device operations.
In March 2010, MWSS-274 was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF). During their seven months in Afghanistan, the squadron provided seamless aviation ground support to more than ten operational units on four separate forward operating bases and numerous combat outposts. The squadron was called upon to design, construct, and repair multiple large scale expeditionary airfields and tactical helicopter landing zones, thus successfully building and extending the aviation combat power of 3d MAW (FWD). Their accomplishments during this deployment earned the unit the coveted Marine Corps Aviation Association's award for the Marine Wing Support Squadron of the Year.
In October 2011, MWSS-274 was deployed aboard the USS Oak Hill as the Command Element and Logistic Combat Element of the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Southern Partnership Station 2012 (Amphibious) (SPMAGTF SPS-12 (AMPHIB)). MWSS-274 worked jointly with elements from the US Navy, US Army, US Coast Guard and US Air Force participating in Counter Drug/Counter Narcotics Trafficking (CD/CNT), and Theater Security Cooperation (TSC). During SPS-12 (AMPHIB), the Marines of MWSS-274 worked hand in hand with multi-national forces from Colombia, Panama, Honduras, and Guatemala. The missions during this deployment ranged from small unit level training in the jungles of South and Central America, engineering projects that enhanced the capabilities of our Partner Nations, and combating the effects and capabilities of illicit trafficking in the region.
MWSS-274 continues to meet the support requirements for 2D MAW despite the complex and ever changing environment. The squadron takes pride in exceeding mission requirements and being ever ready to support Marine aviation in a time of conflict. In April 2012, MWSS-274 transferred parent commands from MWSG-27 to MAG-29. The Ironmen have an attitude best exemplified in our squadron motto, Aeternus Adjuvo (Eternal Support). MWSS-274 Marines are dedicated professionals who are committed to providing exemplary aviation ground support to Marine aviation.