'Ode to Joy'

'Ode to Joy'

August 22, 2011

PMO conducts alarm-response drills on Okinawa

Story and Photos by Pfc. Brianna Turner

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan  — This was the only warning given before doors slammed open during the Provost Marshal’s Office alarm-response training held at Futenma Housing on Camp Foster Aug. 16.

The Marines, a part of Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, conducted a variety of scenarios to prepare themselves for responding to alarms.

The training began with a brief by Staff Sgt. Sean L. Demoe, the PMO training staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge. He discussed alarm systems, locations that use alarms, causes of alarms triggering and supporting units military police can call when they need backup.

“Train for every event as if they were real alarms, because you never know when something is going to happen,” said Demoe during the brief.

After the brief, the Marines began a series of scenarios such as anonymous calls from a bank, duress alarms from an armory and complaints from a housing area.

Duress alarms are secret alarms usually indicating there is an intruder on a property, said Staff Sgt. Jeremy C. Bloom, the training chief for PMO.

“When these alarms are set off, we call the location that it came from, and if we don’t receive an answer or they cannot provide the safe word, our patrols respond,” Bloom said.

The preparation is part of PMO’s annual required training to keep the Marines ready for any contingency.

“We have to let the Marines practice these scenarios, so they know how to handle calls that are out of the ordinary,” said Demoe.

Alarm-response training keeps the Marines familiar with how they should respond and ensures they respond safely, said Bloom.

The practice not only helps  military police become familiar with different situations, but also benefits the military community.

“This training is meant to make sure personnel and property are properly safeguarded,” said Demoe.

For this  year’s training, peer review was very important, said Bloom.

“It was very peer oriented. They were judged by each other while the senior leadership observed and gave advice,” said Bloom.” This is important because they often notice things about each other that we miss.”

Photo of the Day

Helicopter support team Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 22, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, wait for a CH-53E Super Stallion with Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced) to move into position so the Marines can attach two more palettes aboard USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), Aug. 19, 2011. Landing support Marines conduct external lift drills to maintain mission effectiveness. The Marines and Sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently deployed with Amphibious Squadron 6 (PHIBRON 6) aboard the USS Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) and will continue to train and improve the MEU’s ability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force. The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission, capable force, comprised of an Aviation Combat Element, Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced)(VMM-263 (REIN)); a Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22(CLB 22); a Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment(BLT 2/2) and its Command Element. (Photo by Cpl. John Raufmann)

August 21, 2011


I am finally back up and running this blog. Over the last two months, I have been transitioning between duty stations. I am know at The S.I. Newhouse School for Public Communication at Syracuse University in central New York. I will continue to update this site with Marine Corps news and will even update with some of my photos produced here at school. I hope you will continue to follow me.

My first photo from a Syracuse University soccer game. I had to beat the rust off, but I
ended up taking some good images

Recon Marines sharpen at-sea skills

Story and Photos by Cpl. Garry Welch

CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan   — A team of force reconnaissance Marines stack up beside the door of a concrete building here, but in their minds this is a hatch along a passageway in a ship at sea. Silent signals move them quickly through the entryway in a fluid search for targets.

The Marines of Force Reconnaissance Platoon, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, practiced room-clearing operations and precision-fire drills as a way of building their Vessel Board, Search and Seizure skills, August 18.

The 31st MEU is required to be capable of conducting specific at-sea operations before it deploys for patrols of the Asia-Pacific region. Among the scenarios which the MEU must be able to respond to is a VBSS, undertaken to secure a ship at sea which may be under the control of hostile forces.

To ensure the MEU’s ability to respond to a hijacked ship, the Marines of FRP conduct this training annually to ensure a heightened state of readiness. Although the Marines were clearing a land-based structure, the methods used are very similar, and in some cases the same, as the ones used when searching and securing a ship.

“When assaulting houses and ships, the tactics remain pretty much the same,” said Cpl. Derric Hardy a radio operator with FRP, 31st MEU. “There are a few things that change so you can still use both interchangeably to keep your training up.”

The 31st MEU’s role in the Asia-Pacific region makes the VBSS capabilities of the reconnaissance Marines even more valuable. Before the 31st MEU deploys for a patrol of the Asia-Pacific region, the FRP conducts an eight-week training course to ensure they are prepared to respond to any situations that may arise.

During the day’s training, shooters rapidly engaged multiple targets through the use of various firing drills. They were often required to shoot while closing with the targets, and even switch weapons and engage the targets while still on the move.
According to Boung, it is just as important to maintain weapon skills as it is to maintain VBSS skills.

“In the case of a highly stressful situation, we need to be able to engage a target quickly and accurately,” said Boung. “Doing so actually helps the survivability of the team when clearing rooms because when you see the targets, you put them down quickly with accurate fire.”

It is the constant training on weapons tactics, VBSS skills and various other training events FRP conducts that maintain their wide range of capabilities in support of the 31st MEU.

The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and remains the nation’s force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

Photo of the Day

A Navy boat launched by the USS New Orleans Aug 14. carries members of the maritime raid force from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit to a vessel the force's assault element later boarded during counter-piracy and counter-terrorism training miles from Southern California's San Clemente Island. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Justin R. Stein)