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MWSS-371 Marines devote tools, time to border-control effort

By Pfc. Mauro Sanchez | | May 26, 2006

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A Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 task force is aiding the U.S. Border Patrol and Army National Guard to improve a mile-long strip of patrol road along the U.S.-Mexico border in Campo, Calif.

The task force, led by 1st Lt. Michelle Burgess, MWSS-371 project supervisor, began the project May 8 and plans to finish it June 8.

The primary mission of the task force is to fix and help maintain the road by repairing damage and installing drainage pipes, known as culverts, to keep water from eroding it, said Burgess.

The 25 Marines have worked six days per week and nearly 15 hours each day to ensure the mission is accomplished, she said.

The Marines have been very efficient in their tasks, completing their individual missions  and leaving little need for supervision, said Burgess.

In addition to their outstanding work, the Marines have ensured to make safety their number one priority, said Lance Cpl. Noah Hitz, MWSS-371 mission safety supervisor.

The Marines wear the proper safety equipment at all times, said the Oregon City, Ore., native.

There is a corpsman at the site and each group of Marines has a radio to maintain communication with each other at all times, said Hitz.

Also working on the project are Marines from communications, survey, welding, heavy equipment operations and other combat engineers, said Burgess.

The experience these Marines gain from the project is invaluable because it is very similar to the things the squadron has done while deployed and will do again in the future, she said. Sometimes it is difficult to give the new Marines a lot of practical application when they arrive from school, said Burgess.

Some of the larger equipment, such as bulldozers, can only be used during actual missions.

A week prior to the Campo assignment, MWSS-371 supported the border patrol in Naco, Ariz., by constructing new fencing along patrol routes.

In August, the squadron will work along the San Luis, Ariz., border.

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