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Units participate in Crown Joule 3 before Afghanistan

By Lance Cpl. Laura Cardoso | | March 31, 2011

Marine Attack Squadron 214, Marine Attack Squadron 311, and Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 returned March 28, 2011, from a weeklong expeditionary training exercise at Laguna Army Air Field in Arizona.

The exercise, Crown Joule 3, allowed units to continue flight operations during the week leading up to and throughout the air show when the flight line is often closed, while also providing MWSS-371 with valuable training hours for their scheduled fall deployment to Afghanistan.

“This exercise focused on air-to-air and forward base operation missions, which increased aircrew core competence, qualified flight leaders, and brought together MWSS-371 with Harrier pilots to efficiently work together,” said 2nd Lt. Charles Stewart, Marine Aircraft Group 13 adjutant.

The Sandsharks expeditionary support skills were on full display as they practiced building runways, refueling, runway repairs and aircraft rescue and fire fighting.

“Knowing each other’s capabilities is very important,” said Stewart. “This familiarization between the two will grease the wheels on both parts and better prepare us for future operations.”

The first Crown Joule exercise took place in August 2010 and provided training in close-air support, strike coordination and reconnaissance operations. Crown Joule 2 was held in December 2010 to increase the numbers of qualified flight leaders in the squadron and build a stronger foundation for the squadron’s Marines as a group.

“This event brought everything together,” said 1st Lt. Carolyn Blakeney, MWSS-371 assistant operations officer. “They saw how the different sections work together, and how the squadron’s come together to provide the necessary support.”

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