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Marines with MWSS-473 awarded first ever Ground Logistics Award for Reserve unit

By Cpl. Dallas Johnson | Marine Corps Forces Reserves | March 23, 2018

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The Marine Corps is known for doing more with less. Marine Forces Reserve is a perfect example of this principle in action. Reserve training is traditionally limited to 48 drill periods and 14 days of annual training per year, yet the Marine Corps Reserve consistently provides highly-trained units and individuals, at a moment’s notice, to augment, reinforce and support active forces for employment across the full spectrum of crisis and global engagement.

From providing aid following Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, working with international partners at exercises such as the Canadian Air Force exercise Maple Flag 50 or preparing for large scale annual training events like Integrated Training Exercise, the Marines of Marine Wing Support Squadron 473, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, supported requirements across the range of military operations during fiscal year 2017.

The amount of logistical preparation and coordination required to maintain an unyielding operational tempo should not be underestimated, but the Marines of MWSS-473 have the experience, efficiency and determination that makes it work.

“Our logistical coordination and preparation feels natural,” said Maj. Stephen Simmons, the operations officer for MWSS-473. “With roughly 600 Marines, what we’re supposed to do is be operational. Lieutenant General McMillian gave us the dictate to be an operational reserve and be ready to fight tonight. Is it difficult? It is. But, is it what we’re expected to do and what America demands we do? Absolutely.”

For their efforts, MWSS-473 received the Marine Corps Logistics Organization/Team of the Year (large unit) Award at the Marine Corps Association and Foundation’s 14th annual Ground Logistics Awards dinner at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, March 22, 2018.

Annually, the MCA&F recognizes high-performing logistics Marines around the Corps with an award of excellence and achievement. For the first time in the awards 14-year history, a Reserve unit, MWSS-473, has been given the Marine Corps Logistics Organization/Team of the Year (large unit) Award.

“This award is generally given to units that show some form of innovative solution from readiness and logistics functions to demonstrating unique capabilities in a way that isn’t normally employed,” said Maj. Brandon Southworth, the Inspector-Instructor executive officer for Marine Wing Support Squadron 473. “What MWSS-473 did to stand out this past year was their hurricane relief efforts, their aide efforts when Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 crashed in Mississippi and their participation in exercises like Maple Flag 50.”

The night began with a welcome speech from Col. Daniel O’Brien (Ret.), chief operating officer of MCA&F, followed by a dinner allowing the Marines and families to relax and enjoy the evening and celebrate the accomplishments of award recipients, then by remarks on technology in the logistical field by Alan Estevez, the former Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, and finally the distribution of awards to recipients. 

After the success of their efforts in 2017, the 568 active and Reserve Marines of MWSS-473 have no intention of slowing their operational tempo.

With three detachments at Naval Air Station Lemoore and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California and at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, MWSS-473 has been highly engaged in 2018, as well. This year the squadron detachments completed a geographically separated field exercise in March, is currently in Kodiak, Alaska participating in cold-weather training and is also preparing to tackle ITX 4-18 in June.

“A lot of times there’s this stigma about the Reserves, that they’re ‘just the Reserves’,” said Southworth. “But, in reality, the Reserves are incredible. You have personnel from all walks of life that have experiences that are unlike anything else. We have paramedics, network administrators, police and even data network specialists. They do this day-to-day in the civilian world but also tend to their job with the Marine Corps. Just learning the capabilities of our personnel and that they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice is absolutely incredible. Seeing this gives a whole new level of respect to the Reserve community.”

The winners of this year’s Marine Corps Awards for Logistics Excellence also include:
- The First Lieutenant Travis Manion Marine Corps Officer Logistician of the Year – Capt. Joshua B. Kelly, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve
- The Marine Corps Enlisted Logistician of the Year – Gunnery Sergeant Joseph A. Moreno, 1st Marine Raider Support Battalion, Marine Raider Support Group, Marine Forces Special Operations Command
- The Marine Corps Civilian Logistician of the Year – Mr. Chad C. Hildebrandt, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Marine Corps Installations Command
- The Marine Corps Logistics Organization/Team of the Year (Large Unit) – Marine Wing Support Squadron 473, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Forces Reserve
- The Marine Corps Logistics Organization/Team of the Year (Small Unit) – Task Force Spartan, 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Marine Forces Central Command
- The Marine Corps Logistics Organization of the Year for Innovation – Marine Aviation Logistics


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