Tinian – Marines with Marine Aircraft group 12, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, utilities, water purification technicians conducted a reconnaissance patrol May 29 in order to pinpoint the location of a watering hole sight spotted by aerial surveillance during Exercise Geiger Fury 2012.
The ‘water dogs’ were conducting the patrol in search of an alternative means of providing water for the Marines participating in the exercise.
“Today utilities platoon conducted a tactical water reconnaissance patrol,” said Staff Sgt. Gorge L. Made Marine Aircraft Group 12, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, utilities, water purification technician. “Our goal was to locate and determine whether or not the water source would be suitable to provide water for the Marines here on Tinian.”
Preparation for the patrol began well before sunrise at 4:30 am. The squad leaders briefed their respective squad members on the events taking place throughout the patrol and conducted a final gear check before leaving the forward operating base located on Tinians’ North Field.
“I had absolute faith in the performance of my squad leaders throughout the patrol,” said Made.
As the patrol made its way closer and closer to the water source, the terrain became more and more treacherous.
“As we moved closer to the water source we found that the area was over grown with tall bladed grass and bamboo that was more than 10 feet high,” said Lance Cpl. Thaddius L. Buggs III, MAG-12, MWSS-171, utilities, water purification technician. “As we were cutting our way through the overgrowth it seemed as though we were moving so far, but when we turned around we realized that we hadn’t gone that far and that it was going to take a lot longer than expected to reach our goal.”
The Marines made their way through the thicket after hours of hacking and slashing their way to the water source and found that the water was not suitable for purification. What appeared to have been a pond or spring was in fact more of a swamp that collected excess rainfall and could likely flood the area in its immediate vicinity during Tinians’ rainy season that normally starts around this time of year.
“Though the water was not suitable nor was there a sufficient amount for sustainment, we completed the mission,” said Made. “These Marines gave it their all and that’s all I ever ask of them. I am very happy with their performance throughout the entirety of the exercise thus far.”
Though the new water source was determined to no longer be an alternative water supply for the Marines on Tinian, the Water Dogs are back to work with their purification systems already set into place on Chulu beach, the historic location where the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions landed on 24 July 1944, supported by naval bombardment and artillery firing across the strait from Saipan during World War II. They will continue to provide all the potable water for Exercise Geiger Fury 2012 until they depart Tinian and return to Iwakuni, Japan.