MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
During a simulated riot aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., an angry mob approached a U.S. Embassy, throwing rocks and becoming increasingly violent. Marines grabbed their riot shields, batons and non-lethal shotguns and quickly assembled into a formation resembling a column of ancient Spartan warriors. Marching forward, shoulder to shoulder, the Marines swiftly and soundly pushed back the attackers.
These Marines were being evaluated on their use of non-lethal weapons and practiced this with a group of fellow Marines acting as a hostile crowd.
Roughly 50 Marines of 5th Platoon, Company C, Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment, II Marine Expeditionary Force, stationed out of Naval Station Norfolk, Va., participated in a mission readiness exercise at Camp Lejeune’s Movement on Urban Terrain facilities, Aug. 9-13.
The exercise was designed to evaluate the Marines’ employment of skill sets they have been taught during the past nine months to prepare them for their scheduled seven-month deployment to Bahrain this fall. Some of the many skill sets they have developed include non-lethal tactics, entry and vehicle control point procedures and advanced urban combat.
“Their primary mission is site security,” said Master Sgt. John Trotta, operations chief for Company C. “We throw every possible scenario at them non-stop for the five days they are here. It could be anything from coming under observation from local nationals to a full mass-casualty drill.”
Company C is one of three Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team companies in MCSF Regiment. The FAST companies are expeditionary security forces that mainly function to protect vital naval and national assets around the world.
“We can rapidly deploy as a reinforcement force, supplement defensive positions and act as a force multiplier for wherever our command needs us to be,” said Sgt. Nicholas Hensley, the platoon sergeant for 5th Platoon. “The platoons are designed to be launched expeditiously and alone depending on mission parameters and requirements. We use FAST specific and core competencies that make us a force in readiness.”
What makes these Marines a force in readiness is not only their warfare training, but their ability to operate autonomously.
“They learn everything from the employment of their weapon systems to logistics,” Trotta said. “The idea behind that is a platoon should be completely independent and able to conduct its own training and sustainment requirements, as well as move itself from any flight line around the world.”
Even though their pre-deployment preparation is complete, the Marines of 5th Platoon are not done training. Once deployed to Bahrain, the Marines will continue to sustain the various skill sets that they have worked so hard to develop.
“I think it’s good training because these are real life scenarios,” said Lance Cpl. Taylor Rhodes, a Marine with 5th Platoon. “It’s repetitive, but it’s really good because we’ll be prepared when the real thing happens.”