AL ASAD, Iraq -- Marine Wing Support Group 37 officially assumed control of wing support functions during a Transfer of Authority Ceremony, Jan. 30, at Al Asad, Iraq.
Based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., the unit comes to Iraq for a yearlong deployment after relieving their East Coast counterpart, MWSG-27, based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.
“Our mission is to provide the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) with comprehensive, responsive and timely aviation ground support,” said Col. Michael G. Da na, the commander of MWSG-37. “We’re also going to provide all personnel at Al Asad a secure work environment.”
Their primary mission of aviation ground support is enabled by two wing support squadrons, located across Marine bases in the Al Anbar province, Iraq. Simply put, MWSG-37 will provide the logistical support necessary for successful air operations.
As a secondary mission, MWSG-37 will provide security for Al Asad. The unit’s security operations are handled mainly by the 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, an Army National Guard unit stationed in Pennsylvania.
“Those guys are really impressing me,” said Dana. “I look at the way they work, their expertise and their attitude out here and with them, you can’t tell the difference between Soldier and Marine.”
The group is looking forward to playing a role in the successful completion of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their predecessors played a large role in Iraq’s successful elections. Now, as the new Iraqi government begins to establish itself, they’re hoping to achieve the same level of success.
“Hopefully we can bring this thing closer to where there’s some light at the end of the tunnel,” said Sgt. Maj. Doneil C. Yarn, the sergeant major for MWSG-37. “We’re going to do what we have to do so the Iraqi people can stand up for themselves.”
Dana said his unit would continue operations without interruption, largely because of the experience of the Marines in his unit and the successful turnover with his predecessors.
“A large percentage of my staff has previous experience and we’re going to build on that and do even better things,” he said. “But, I can’t overstate how awesome our turnover was. The turnover has been extremely professional and thorough. Marine Wing Support Group 27 definitely raised the bar.”
For their part, MWSG-27 is ready to return home after a year accomplishing significant goals. Many of the group’s members cited the country’s elections during October and December as highlights of the deployment. The unit was also instrumental in improving living conditions for personnel stationed at Al Asad.
“We had a successful year in Iraq,” said Master Sgt. Tracy Ray, the expeditionary airfield
chief for MWSG-27. “Now, it’s time to go home. I think (MWSG-37) can continue to build on what we’ve done and do even greater things out here.”