Photo Information

Lance Cpl. Byron J. Harlin, 24, a rifleman with 3rd Amphibian Assault Vehicle Battalion, from Muskogee Okla., and Lance Cpl. Nicholas G. Janowiak, 19, a landing support specialist with Combat Logistic Regiment 17, from Hoffman Estates, Ill., patrol the Camp Del Mar area on Camp Pendleton.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Sean P. McGinty

The Defenders

18 Oct 2007 | Lance Cpl. Sean P. McGinty

While service members fight terrorists overseas, many Americans are worried about security on the home front.

Past and recent incidents at military and civilian locations around the world have highlighted the need to be vigilant.

In 1983, a Marine barracks in Beirut was bombed, and Marines here are working to ensure it never happens again.

Camp Pendleton’s Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection measures are constantly working to keep the base residents safe through secure borders, on-base security patrols and inter-agency cooperation.

“I Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations-West, along with local and federal law enforcement officials, have a great system to keep all personnel of our installation protected,” said Ryan T. Finnegan, I Marine Expeditionary Force Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Officer.

By regularly ensuring the base and surrounding communities are secure, Marines are able to apply their most basic training: constant vigilance.

“We understand that overall awareness of a terrorist or domestic threat is very serious,” said Mike J. Drake, the director of operations for the Operations and Training Directorate for Camp Pendleton. “It’s critical for everyone on base to maintain their awareness.”

Camp Pendleton AT/FP also constantly reviews what can be done to improve and maintain its safety.

“We do everything we can to harden (Camp Pendleton). We work outside the base with both San Diego county, Orange county and with our partners here in Oceanside, working with their sheriffs departments and law enforcement agencies,” said Alla Y. Dowse, the Force Protection planner and acting threat information manager here.

Service members patrolling Camp Pendleton are a constant reminder for base residents of the Corps’ dedication to their security.

“I MEF and MCB Camp Pendleton have Force Protection policies and procedures in place to handle an incident,” Finnegan said. “They include our guard force and military police which are trained to contain and eliminate the threat quickly.”

Marines here are also being trained better with every annual assessment, Drake said. The base has always conducted anti-terrorism exercises, but since the beginning of the War on Terror, more Marines are being trained.

“Critical infrastructure and the continuity of operations on base is a large part of what Marines do here,” Dowse said. “Training for these Marines includes learning the critical infrastructure and anti-terrorism proponent.”

Camp Pendleton and I MEF also have capabilities to respond in the event of a terrorist action taken against the base.

“The base maintains mutual aid agreements with local and state emergency response agencies if there is an incident which base resources can’t handle,” Drake said. “We automatically pull resources from cities and counties around base to respond to any incident.”

Base residents who see anything suspicious are encouraged to report it to local military police officials, civilian law enforcement agencies or call the Camp Pendleton emergency hotline at (866) 430-2764.