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AL ASAD, Iraq (June 9, 2005) - Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 move a 300,000 pound non-traditional field expedient bridge into place. The bridge is part of project to enhance the security of the airbase.

Photo by Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis

Workhorse ingenuity benefits Al Asad

10 Jun 2005 | Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis

Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 put the finishing touches today on a two-month project to enhance the security of airbase by expanding the perimeter fence.

Engineers, welders, draftsmen, surveyors and heavy equipment operators began the mesa fence project April 26, and since then have been working, through temperatures ranging in the triple digits and constant blowing dust, to extend the perimeter of the airbase.

“The fence line was pushed out to extend our security,” said Sgt. David J. Young, drafting and survey chief and native of White Plains, N.Y. “It will provide a better vantage point for security towers.”

The squadron’s drafters and surveyors scoped out the area and drew up the plan, which included three miles of fence, barbed wire and a bridge to cross the wadi between the base and the towering mesa.

When the plans were finished, the squadron’s engineers began the process of digging thousands of postholes, planting the fence posts, hanging the fence and tying the barbed wire.

“These Marines have worked extremely hard to get this amount of fence up in the short time they have,” said Sgt. Douglas J. Proffitt, engineering noncommissioned officer-in-charge and native of North Judson, Ind. “Just like every project they work on, they put 100 percent effort into each day.”

Because the fence crossed through the wadi, or riverbed, that lies between the camp and the ridgeline, the squadron used their ingenuity to craft a non-standard field expedient bridge needed to reach guard towers around the perimeter.

While drafters and surveyors measured the topography and drew up the plans, engineers laid a foundation complete with drainage, and the squadron’s welders crafted the bridge from old steel concrete forms.

“We put more than 250 man-hours into cutting, welding and forming the segments,” said Cpl. Christopher R. McElroy, welding noncommissioned officer-in-charge and native of Leesburg, Va. “Once the bridge was in place, it took two days to weld the two segments together and secure it to the steel bridge stands.”

As the Marines of MWSS-271 wrap up the project, their focus continues to be on providing aviation ground support for the forward deployed 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Whether building work and living quarters, repairing segments of runway, or repairing damaged water pipes outside the airbase, the MWSS-271 Workhorses continually support the wing.

“We are constantly on the job,” Proffitt said. “The Marines are dedicated to providing support however they can.”

*For more information about the Marines or news reported on in this story, please contact Cpl. Rocco DeFilippis by e-mail at*
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