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Marine Wing Support Squadron 274: Corp's Top Fuelers
by Pvt. Rocco DeFilippis
Marine Corps News
June 6, 2003

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- The Marines of Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 have been named the best refueling squadron in the Marine Corps by the American Petroleum Institute.

The award is given to the squadron which shows exemplary job proficiency and performance, while maintaining safety in the work place.

"This award is a symbol of pride for the Marines in MWSS-274," said Cpl. Cort Ming, refueling chief, and a New York native. "It's great for all the Marines here to get some recognition for the hard work they do day in and day out."

Everything that MWSS-274 has done in the past year is nothing less than outstanding," said Gunnery Sgt. Robert Wright, fuels staff noncommissioned officer in charge, and a Chicago native. "Every mission we have been tasked with we've accomplished almost without flaw."

With the increase in operational tempo leading up to the war in Iraq and many Marines deployed when the fight started, the Marines overcame manpower shortages and still excelled at their jobs.

"We have Marines still in Iraq, Marines at (Marine Corps Base) Camp Lejeune getting ready to deploy and other Marines scattered around the world," Wright said. "Even with them gone, we still uphold the standard and get the job done the right way, every time."

The squadron's unique make-up presents challenges that the Marines overcame to win the prestigious honor.

"This squadron has about 400 Marines in 20 different fields," said Warrant Officer Matthew Vitro, fuels officer, and a Los Angeles native. "But, our Marines come together and work as a team to accomplish our mission to bring ground support to the air wing."

The squadron's safety record was an integral reason for their receipt of the award.

"We have had zero safety incidents in the last year that I have been here," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Stephens, corpsman, and a native of Oxford, Ala. "Their safety record speaks to the professionalism and job proficiency these guys show every day. It makes my job a lot easier knowing these Marines are safe."

The title of "Best Refueling Squadron in the Marine Corps" gives motivation to the young Marines of MWSS-274.

"It makes us feel great," said Lance Cpl. Orlando Munoz, bulk fuel specialist, and a Milwaukee native. "We are a lot more motivated knowing that we are being noticed for what we do. This is a great unit, with awesome Marines, and I am proud to be a part of the MWSS-274 family."

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