Marine Wing Support Squadron 172
|Marine Wing Support Squadron 172|
|Active||16 June 1986 – present|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Type||Aviation ground support squadron|
|Part of||Marine Air Group 36
1st Marine Aircraft Wing
|Garrison/HQ||Marine Corps Air Station Futenma|
|LtCol Darin J. Clarke|
Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 (MWSS 172) is an aviation ground support unit of the United States Marine Corps. Known as the "Firebirds", they are based out of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan. The squadron is part of Marine Wing Support Group 17 and the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
Provide all essential Aviation Ground Support requirements to a Marine Aviation Combat Element. Additionally, an implied mission is to supplement airbase facilities and services at a collocated Marine Corps Air Station, which is performed aboard MCAS Futenma.
Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 was activated at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on 16 June 1986. After MWSS-174 was disbanded, MWSS-172 became the sole support squadron on Okinawa. The Squadron continually grew adding enhanced motor transport and engineer capabilities. Originally located on Ie Shima, the Squadron made numerous improvement while stationed there. To include: construction of a control tower, a state-of-the-art Close-in Approach Indicator guidance system, and a Vertical Short Take-off and Landing (VSTOL) facility. This VSTOL facility is the only one of its kind in the Western Pacific. Since the facility’s beginnings on Ie Shima, MWSS-172 has been responsible for maintenance and serviceability of the VSTOL strip, to include the complete replacement of 432,648 square feet (40,194.3 m2) of AM-2 matting, as well as the coral resurfacing of the entire runway on Ie Shima. MWSS-172 deployed to Camp Al Asad from March 2008 to October 2008 in support of OIF.
In 2001 MWSS-172 relocated to Camp Foster and continues to support MCAS Futenma and Marine Aircraft Group 36 (MAG-36). MWSS-172 has assisted and supported many real world operations to include: Operation Desert Storm, Operation Sea Angel, Operation Restore Hope, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.