Marine Corps

August 16, 2012

MWSS-374: Paving A Better Future

Story and photos by Lance Cpl. Uriel Avendano
Desert Warrior Staff

The lightweight purification water recycling system at Chocolate Mountain uses 3,000 gallon collapsible tanks that pump and filter out clean water which allows Marines to better conserve resources.

Breaking new ground isn’t easy. Building a foundation, in the most literal sense, is hard work.

Just ask the engineer company of Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, based out of Twentynine Palms, Calif., who are refurbishing the landing zone strip at the Bull Assault Forward Air Refueling Point site located in the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range in California, Aug. 9.

“The majority of the work of bringing it out here was done by motor transportation. Utilities set up all the water points,” said Sgt. Juan Flores, the MWSS-374 project manager and a native of Houston, Texas. “And, obviously, the heavy equipment engineers worked on the ground here.”

MWSS-374 electronically surveyed, gauged, and measured the site to determine the terrain conditions. Then, construction began on Aug. 1.

“The most difficult part was keeping with the terrain, making sure the landing strip is within regulations,” said Gunnery Sgt. Ramiro Chavez Jr., the MWSS-374 engineer equipment chief and a native of Naples, Fla.

Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 374, based out of Twentynine Palms, Calif., work on a new water purification system at the Chocolate Mountains Aerial Gunnery Range in MCAS Yuma region, Aug. 9.

After layering up to six inches of Recycled Asphalt Product (RAP) and using Portland cement to provide greater strength and better durability, it will then be compacted and paved to a smooth finish. Soiltac, a biodegradable and environmentally safe product that will reduce dust and prevent erosion, will also be used to deliver a safer strip to land on for pilots during training exercises.

“The local Marines will be able to use this LZ as a good training environment for future FARP operations,” said Chavez.

For Flores, LZ Bull marks his first operation as project manager.

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