CAMP PENDLETON, CALIF. -- Marines with Company A, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, conducted a Combat Marksmanship Program with M249 squad automatic weapons and M240B machine guns at Camp Pendleton March 29, 2016. The CMP shoot is a part of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade contingency training and preparation for an upcoming deployment with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response Central Command.
“We are doing a familiarization with M249 squad automatic weapons as well as M240 machine guns,” said Staff Sgt. Clayton L. Sanders, platoon sergeant with Company A, 1st LE Bn. “Performing these drills allows the new Marines to get more time behind the weapon, reminds them how to use their weapons properly, and allows our company to maintain our military operational specialty credibility.”
Performing familiarization drills on the machine guns, like breaking down the weapon and conducting qualification shoots, helps them prepare for their tasks on deployment.
“A big thing with us as military policemen is operating a crew serve weapon, an MK19 40mm Grenade Machine Gun, Browning .50 Cal Machine Gun or any weapon that’s mounted on a tactical vehicle,” said Sanders, a native of Hacienda Heights. “A lot of the Marines have been selected to go on the SPMAGTF where convoy security, combat-forensics lab, personal-security detail missions and combat patrols could possibly be their mission.”
As the group moves closer to joining the SPMAGTF, they plan to provide their expertise to the unit they attach to. The SPMAGTF Crisis Response Central Command is a rotational force of Marines and sailors prepared to offer a broad range of military capabilities to respond to crises in its area of responsibility including non-combatant evacuation, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and support to U.S. embassies, and other operations, missions and activities as directed by national and command leadership.
“When we go on the SPMAGTF, we organize ourselves into law enforcement detachments. Within these LEDs, we have teams that will provide a specialty skill set like accident investigation, military working dogs and tactical sites exploitations,” said 1st Lt. Devin A. McAtee, platoon commander with Company A, 1st LE Bn. “What this does is provide subject matter experts to the larger units that will teach their Marines and provide background to what they might run into on deployment. “
When the company is not preparing for the SPMAGTF, the Marines stay prepared as a mission-ready team that can respond to crisis operations as they occur around the world.
“We are the MEB contingency company, which means if the balloon goes up and our country goes to war again, we deploy,” said McAtee, a native of Poolesville, Maryland. “We train to our training and readiness standards and get our Marines all the field training that we need.”
As the military police prepare for the SPMAGTF and maintain their MEB contingency standards, they feel confident in the skill sets they bring to other units.
“No matter what unit tasks us out, if they need us to do police advising or need us to help the infantry in some way, we are here to help and do whatever they need to get done,” said Sanders.