AL ASAD, Iraq -- The Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26’s Mobile Air Cargo Handling team finished its deployment on a high note as Maj. Marion D. Jones, the executive officer of MALS-26, presented the MACH team with awards, Sept. 26, to thank them for their efforts.
The MACH III team is being replaced by the MACH IV team, which was also present for the awards ceremony. Jones thanked the MACH team for their hard work before making each an honorary member of the squadron.
The Sailors who comprise the MACH teams work to support the mission of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing by dealing directly with what goes on and off the flight line.
“Our role is to expedite MALS-26 aviation equipment, send outbound cargo, receive inbound cargo and take it to MALS-26,” said Petty Officer 1st Class William R. Walker, a Bolivar, Mo., native and MACH team member.
Walker is part of the outgoing MACH team. Thirteen of his fellow Sailors will return with him to the United States.
“I think we were doing a worthy and important job,” he said. “MALS-26 depends on these parts to keep birds going.”
Walker and his team were honored just days before their return to the United States, but he said working with the Marines of MALS-26 was a rewarding experiencing by itself.
“MALS-26 has been great to us,” he said. “They make us feel like a part of the family.”
Petty Officer 2nd Class Joel W. Messing, of Atlanta, is one of the Sailors replacing Roberts and the rest of the MACH III team.
Messing’s team is approximately the same size as Robert’s and is made up of reservists. Though the Sailors in Messing’s unit aren’t in specialties where they’re specifically trained for the work they’ll be doing on the MACH team, he said the experiences of those who came before them have set them on a firm foundation.
“We have a unit of a lot of different (military occupational specialties),” he said. “But, we’re all here to learn the same task and perform it.”
“(The MACH III) team’s experience is invaluable. Their system is a good system and their value to us is something you can’t put a price on,” he added.
Roberts said he and his team are leaving a fine operation in place, and it gives Roberts, always ambitious to give back to his nation, something to reflect upon with pride.
“I believe in serving our country,” he explained. “I’m proud to have come over here and done my part.”