JULIAN, Calif. (3/2/2012) – Girl Scouts
San Diego presented Marine Wing Support Squadron 473 with The 2012
Community Partner Award and a plaque announcing March 1 as the
official MWSS-473 day during a presentation at Camp Whispering Oaks
in Julian, Calif., March 1.
Marlene Williams, left, the volunteer coordinator, and Jo Dee
Jacob, right, the chief executive officer of Girl Scouts San Diego,
stands with engineering Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron
473 at Camp Whispering Oaks in Julian, Calif., March 1, 2012. In response
to a postponed deployment, the unit reached out to Girl Scouts San
Diego for community service opportunities to maintain job
capabilities. Photo by USMC Lance Cpl. Erica Disalvo
MWSS-473 received the awards
for continuous volunteer efforts serving Girl Scouts San
Diego that began in October of 2011.
heavy equipment shop began searching for alternative and
community-beneficial training opportunities after a
deployment was postponed.
“When I realized that we
had an unplanned gap in training, I began searching for
training opportunities in the community by contacting San
Diego outlets like the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts,” said
Cpl. John V. Geary, a heavy equipment operator and engineer
section training non-commissioned officer in charge of the
MWSS-473 engineer section and a San Diego, native. “The Girl
Scouts called me back immediately, and said they could
definitely use the help. We started all kinds of projects
including surveying, construction and earth work, things we
are trained to do in our [military occupational specialty].”
Over the course of five months the Marines fixed dirt
roads, cleared underbrush, built concrete pads, performed
electrical repairs and cleared a field that is to be turned
into an athletic field.
Each project provided
Marines with hands-on and cross-training opportunities into
other skill sets.
“Every project was focused on a
particular skill, and those who knew what they were doing
would teach the other guys,” said Greary. “This way we all
came together and learned something we wouldn't have
[previously]. For example, myself and one other Marine knew
how to hang drywall, and we taught others. This idea applied
to other things like electrical and dirt work too.”
Beginning in early January, the unit traveled to the Girl
Scouts San Diego camp sites located in Julian each Monday
and stayed on site until Friday evening, working on various
projects across more than 600 acres of land, before heading
back to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.
After the efforts of MWSS-473's heavy equipment operators
throughout the previous months, the heavy equipment shop has
now received approval to complete other community relations
projects in the community until 2017.
“I think it is
incredibly important as Marines to help the community, and
this work is a win-win for not only the Marines with their
training but in reaching out to the area,” Lt. Col. John F.
Peterson, the former executive officer of MWSS-473 and a
Setauket, N.Y., native.
MWSS-473 plans to continue
building job capabilities sets while building up the
community in upcoming service projects for Girl Scouts San
Diego as the year persists.
By USMC Lance Cpl. Erica Disalvo
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
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