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Task Force Rawhide Replaces Alpha 1/24

By Sgt. Matthew B. Roberson | | August 11, 2003

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Task Force Rawhide, part of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism), replaced Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, as the guard force for the Combined Joint Task Force Horn-of-Africa here.Task Force Rawhide took over Alpha 1/24's duties of supporting CJTF-HOA's mission of detecting, disrupting and defeating transnational terrorists operating in the East African region by providing security for Camp Lemonier.With the 4th MEB (AT)'s mission being to detect, deter and defend against terrorism worldwide, Task Force Rawhide brings valuable terrorism expertise to CJTF-HOA that most infantry battalions do not have.Marines from Task Force Rawhide maintain higher levels of close-in marksmanship skills due to the mandatory Enhanced Marksmanship Program (EMP) course incorporated into the 4th MEB (AT)'s regular training. They also posses a variety of anti-terrorism skill sets including counter- surveillance training designed to allow AT Bn. Marines to identify terrorist surveillance efforts prior to actual attacks and high risk personnel training that gives the Marines the ability to conduct personnel protection operations. In addition to advanced training, the Task Force also brings valuable assets to assist in the counter-terrorism mission."We have everything an infantry company does, plus snipers, designated marksmen and better optics," said Lt. Col. Charlie Dunston, Task Force Rawhide commanding officer. "We also have the capability to be reinforced by a FAST (Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team) platoon if needed."Dunston went on to say that future plans for the Camp involves enhancing the overall security of the compound and refining security operations. "As the camp grows, we will continue to look for ways to run things more efficiently."Other plans include continuing to develop closer relationships with the Air Force, French and Djiboutian security forces aboard the Camp, said Dunston.Refining security operations and looking for ways to run things more efficiently are ongoing things that security force must do in combat situations, said Maj. Scott Smith, Alpha 1/24 commanding officer. Since their arrival, Smith said Alpha Co. has been constantly improving security positions, building bunkers, upgrading and adding additional posts and redefining the role of the quick reaction force (QRF)."One of the things we've tried to do with the QRF is run daily drills we thought were likely threats to the Camp," said Smith. These drills helped the Marines stay prepared for any situation that might have occurred and aided in avoiding complacency.Smith went on to say that staying focused and avoiding complacency were key points he planned on stressing to the unit taking his place. "After being here for while, this place can be perceived as a more secure place than it is," said Smith. "We're in an area that rates hazardous duty pay for a reason."From standing post to conducting training and drills, Smith feels Alpha Co. has preformed professionally and couldn't be happier with their performance while in the Horn-of-Africa."I think my Marines have done a tremendous job since they've been out here," said Smith. "They came here motivated, focused, with a strong sense of urgency and dedicated to performing the mission.""It's been a long time since I've seen a unit show the level of maturity and responsibility that Alpha 1/24 has," said Brig. Gen. Mastin M. Robeson, commander of CJTF-HOA. "But when the decision was made that the 4th MEB was going to replace them, I made the recommendation for [the Marines from TF Rawhide] to come out due to the higher level of training and technology they posses."Robeson went on to say that TF Rawhide has some big shoes to fill, but he's confident they can accomplish the mission.
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