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MWSS-473�Builds Skills, Girl Scout Camp
by USMC Lance Cpl. Erica Disalvo - March 8, 2012

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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
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.

The squadron's 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
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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