MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina -- It is commonly known in warfighting strategy that to conquer an enemy you must sever the head from the body. When the head of the II Marine Expeditionary Force took to the simulated battlefield, the Military Police faithfully protected it from enemies, ensuring that the headquarters element completed the mission.
2nd Law Enforcement Battalion conducted security operations during the II MEF Command Post Exercise 3 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, April 18-22 in order to defend the control center from simulated enemies.
The training scenario for the CPX involved the Marines stationed in a foreign, allied, country, helping to defend that country against a mutual enemy.
“In order for the [command element] to safely conduct their exercise, we need to protect the critical vulnerability, or brains of the operation, from enemy engagement,” said 1st Lt. Mitchell Whitney, 1st Platoon Commander for Bravo Company, 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion. “Having us here to do the security for them is vital so they can continue on with the logistics and headquarters part of the mission.”
LEB was tasked with a multitude of security operations including conducting security check points, vehicle control points, and perimeter foot patrols. They went through many daytime and nighttime training scenarios to practice escalation of force when interacting with local nationals and unruly civilians. While on patrol, they encountered small groups of enemy combatants as well as roadside improvised explosive devices.
In order to make the training increasingly realistic, the battalion supplemented normal security measures with canine and designated marksmen assets.
“This training is good for the dog because the distraction of having a squad behind us can get her off task and if we have that while we are in training we can push her out, keep her on task and try to get her focused,” said Lance Cpl. Anton Louis Rowe, a military working dog handler with the unit.
While the canine team took point during the security patrol, the concealed designated marksmen watched over them from the nearby woods.
“The marksmen are the unit’s greatest asset,” said Cpl. Ian Seely, the marksman observer NCOIC. “They are the ones who make the precision shots.”
Similar to snipers, designated marksmen and marksmen observers camouflage themselves by wearing “ghillie suits” designed to blend into the terrain. From their hidden positions, the marksmen fire their M110 sniper rifles, which are able to take-down enemies from a distance up to 1200 yards.
Overall, Whitney considered the training to be realistic to what the Marines would face on an actual deployment and believed his team performed their duties successfully