Photo Information

Combat engineers with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 fill a simulated crater during a Base Recovery After Attack drill at Marine Corps Outlying Field Camp Davis, N.C., Aug. 14, 2014. A BRAAT drill simulates an enemy attack on a base and provides steps to return runways, facilities and essential services to operational conditions.

Photo by Cpl. J. R. Heins

MWSS-271 refines BRAAT procedures at Camp Davis

19 Aug 2014 | Cpl. J. R. Heins

Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 conducted a Base Recovery After Attack exercise to simulate response procedures at Marine Corps Outlying Field Camp Davis Aug. 14.

A BRAAT plan is activated after an enemy attack on an airfield, or after a natural disaster, according to 1st Lt. Jessica Davis, the assistant operations officer with the squadron and the officer in charge for the BRAAT exercise.

"The BRAAT focuses on restoring an installation's mission support capabilities after an enemy attack," said Davis, a native of Tucson, Ariz. "The airfield commander will activate the BRAAT plan, which requires the support squadron to operate on emergency power generators and provide only essential services to keep vital facilities in operation."

The Marines who respond during a BRAAT are broken into two teams, according to Davis. The Damage Assessment Team and Damage Assessment and Response Team survey an airfield for damage, such as craters and unexploded ordnance, and isolate utility disruptions.

The simulated enemy attack began when the base was subjected to a barrage of mock incoming artillery fire. To add a sense of realism, they unplugged generators, shut off communications and marked different equipment destroyed.
The entire squadron took cover inside bunkers during the simulated attack. The Marines went to work once the all clear sounded.

The mission of Marine engineers during a BRAAT is to repair damage in order to return runways to operational conditions, said 1st Lt. Samuel Houghtling, the combat engineer platoon commander.

"As a support squadron this is what we do while deployed," said Houghtling, a native of Anaheim, Calif. "We would be supporting different Marine aircraft groups by establishing forward operating bases. This would allow flying squadrons to access our forward fueling and rearming points and increase our ability to penetrate through enemy lines with air power."

This exercise helped the squadron identify its strong points and areas of concern, said Houghtling.

"There are many new Marines with MWSS-271 and this was their first taste of how the squadron functions in the field," he said. "All in all, I believe this exercise was very successful."