MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, Combat Engineers Platoon, erected a multipurpose building (SWA hut) during exercise Pacific Horizon 2015 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Oct. 21-22.
The wooden structure was built to shelter and support a local population through a notional scenario during PH 15.
PH 15 is a scenario driven, simulation supported crisis response exercise designed to improve 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade's and Expeditionary Strike Group 3's interoperability and strengthen Navy-Marine Corps relations by conducting an in-stream Maritime Prepositioning Force offload of equipment by providing host country civil-military security assistance, and by conducting infrastructure restoration support from Oct. 20-28.
As part of the scenario, the structure was constructed in the vicinity of Arcadia - a U.S. ally that was hit by two hurricanes - to serve as shelter for individuals whose homes were destroyed.
“For [the exercise], the combat engineers have been tasked with building two SWA huts in order to support the MEB’s overall mission of humanitarian aid and disaster relief for the scenario where two hurricanes hit Arcadia,” said 2nd Lt. Morgan Celaya, the platoon commander for Combat Engineer Platoon, Marine Wing Support Squadron 373.
As amphibious capabilities are sharpened during PH 15, combat engineers are able to practice construction techniques if ever called upon responding to a natural disaster.
“In a humanitarian aid case, we as combat engineers would provide billeting, shelter or medical facilities if necessary in case a hurricane hit or any other disaster occurred,” said Celaya.
Combat engineers are charged with providing the infrastructure necessary to accomplish the mission, whatever it may be.
“We are doing a quick humanitarian mission, we’re building a couple of SWA huts for shelter or hospitals or anything they could be used for,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel Verduga, a combat engineer with MWSS-373, Combat Engineer Platoon.
The Marine Corps’ quick response capabilities are demonstrated through the high-speed construction of the SWA huts, as well as the abilities to provide a high-quality product to ensure mission accomplishment.
“These are quick builds but they also have to be very sturdy and reliable, because they have to last,” said Verduga.
Marines and Sailors continue to work hand-to-hand through PH 15, enhancing a close working relationship that is based on past tradition, present operations and future requirements to project power from the sea to the shore.