MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR–An engineer detachment from Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 373, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, in partnership with the Catalina Island Conservatory will conduct Innovative Readiness Training to repair the island’s aging runway from Dec. 16, 2018 through March 30, 2019.
MWSS-373 is tasked to embark mission essential equipment, supplies and personnel from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to Catalina Island for the runway construction project.
“We are excited to work with the Catalina Island Conservancy and take advantage of a unique opportunity to plan, train, and deploy our Marines and Sailors to execute a construction mission that will test and develop critical skills,” said Lt. Col. James W. Bauch, commanding officer of MWSS-373, who is looking forward to the project. “The Airport in the Sky project is a rare opportunity to support our neighboring communities while Marines and Sailors exercise and evolve expertise required to support operations that defend our constitution and way of life.”
During this short duration project, MWSS-373 will provide incidental training for its Marines and continue to “fix, fly, and fight” as part of a Marine Air Ground Task Force. The squadron will assist in the repair of airfield infrastructure; which exposes the Marines to unique training opportunities while addressing civic and community needs.
“The Airport in the Sky is an historic and critical asset, providing access to Catalina Island for first responders, travelers and more than 2 million tons of freight each year. Although privately owned by the nonprofit Catalina Island Conservancy, the Airport in the Sky is operated as a public airport serving the Island’s 4,000 residents, businesses and approximately 1 million annual visitors,” said Tony Budrovich, Catalina Island Conservancy president and CEO. “After approximately two years of working together, we have entered into this win-win partnership between the Conservancy and the Marines to repair the runway, which is aged and beyond its useful life. With this runway repair project, I would project more than 75 years of runway operations in our future. This strategic training opportunity is a rare collaboration helping both the military and the Conservancy maintain its grand history.”