AL ASAD, Iraq -- Approximately 30 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing took to Al Asad, Iraq’s southern fence line to pick up the garbage and waste which has collected there in past years.
Though also contributing to the appearance of the base, the cleaning project’s objective was to prevent trash from interfering with Al Asad’s continual flight operations.
“We’re conducting flight operations at the same pace as (3rd Marine Aircraft Wing) with four less squadrons,” said Col. Scott Anderson, the commanding officer of the Marine Wing Support Group 27, which took the lead role in seeing the project through to completion, Marine Wing Support Group 27. “We can’t afford to have a bird grounded.”
As the Iraqi climate changes in the coming month, the same wind that blew the garbage to the southern part of the base would have blown it back over the Al Asad flightline, endangering aircraft that can encounter serious problems when foreign objects are introduced into their engines.
The team assembled to complete the mission included volunteers from all units and services, at Al Asad. Though less than glorious work, the leaders of the project took care to remind those participating that their work was appreciated, and necessary.
“This isn’t just about picking up trash,” said Sgt. Maj. Arthur Thompson, sergeant major for MWSG-27. “To show that, I’m going to be out there helping.”
And help he did. Thompson, along with his commanding officer, Anderson, took part in the clean p every day.
“It’s a lead from the front philosophy,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony J. Gunn, who was in charge of the project. “When these guys see a colonel out there, it inspires them to do their work better.”
The project was successful in clearing 11 miles of fence line full of garbage. Originally scheduled to take five days, Gunn and his team completed the project early on the fourth day.
“It was hard work, and we were working intensely,” he said. “From (7:30 a.m.) until (4 p.m.) every day, we were out there getting it done. It always feels good to meet an objective early.”
When the work was finally completed, the Marines, Sailors and Soldiers were awarded meritorious masts by Anderson.
“I want to thank you guys for what you did out here,” he said. “It was hard work, and you did well. Who’s ready to do it again?”