SAQLAWIYAH, Iraq -- Marines with Marine Wing Support Squadron-373, stationed in Al Taqaddum, arrived in the Saqlawiyah area on Feb. 12 to re-wire a building out of which Marines from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, are operating.
“Our primary mission is to strip the building’s old power grids, light fixtures and wiring starting from the fourth floor working our way down to the first floor,” said Sgt. Wesley McNallie, a 24-year-old electrical equipment repair specialist.
The building’s old wiring system had been deemed a fire hazard when McNallie’s team came out to survey the building two weeks prior.
“You could see, by looking at the wiring, Marines had tried to make the outlets work throughout the building,” explained McNallie, a Rochester, Wash., native, explained. “We were surprised that the building still had any power at all, after looking at the wiring damage.”
The Marines with MWSS-373 worked from room to room in teams. Each team was tasked to accomplish a certain part of each room. The teams would then follow each other through the building picking-up where the last team left off.
“We had several teams set up to work on certain parts of each room. One team’s job was to just rip the wiring from the walls safely,” he explained. “The team following would mount raceways for the wires and then run the wiring. Finally, my team would connect all the wiring together.”
Along with re-wiring the building, which was ahead of schedule, the MWSS Marines were also tasked with building and placing mounts for air cooling units in each room. After the wiring was completed and the mounts were in place in each room, the air cooling units were mounted.
“Making the mounts for air cooling units went swiftly, which gave us time to double check our work and make sure the brackets were sturdy enough to hold the units we were using,” said Lance Cpl. Jefferey T. Gebin, a 25-year-old basic hygiene equipment operator from Pahoa, Hawaii.
The re-wiring of the building and mounting of the air cooling units is scheduled to be completed later this month. The progress of the building is prominent and the Marines of F Company, 2/7, are already reaping the benefits.
“It makes us feel really accomplished to see the Marines here come back from a long patrol, or a short one, and really appreciate our work,” said Gebin. “I’d rather be out here helping these Marines by making sure they have everything we can provide them than be back in the rear where our services aren’t needed as urgently.”
The MWSS Marines have completed a majority of the second floor already and are beginning to strip the wiring from the first floor.
“We are making phenomenal progress,” Gebin explained. “No one expected us to be this far done with the project at this point in the scheduled timeline.”
The Marines hope to be completed well before the scheduled completion date so they can retrace their steps through the building, reassuring that everything in the building functions properly before they depart.