Guard Force Marines: Eye in the sky at Combat Center’s Camp Wilson

26 Jan 2007 | Lance Cpl. Katelyn A. Knauer

With a shotgun slung over his shoulder and binoculars in hand, he scours the area below him from a tower overlooking the Forward Supply Ammunition Point. Though lonely at times, his sole job is to ensure that operations run smoothly, the FASP is secure and that nothing out of the ordinary happens. “The mission of the guard force is to provide an organized security force for the mission essential vulnerability areas, under the cognizance of the officer in charge, second Marine Expeditionary Force, Mojave Viper Support Detachment,” said Sgt. Murray Johnson, Camp Guard Chief. The Guard Force at Camp Wilson consists of one guard commander, Capt. Joshua Truesdale, one guard chief, Sgt. Johnson, two sergeants of the guard, four corporals of the guard and 20 sentries. “The guard force is comprised of Marines from both I MEF and II MEF,” said Johnson. “These Marines come from all military occupational specialties ranging from aviation, administration, motor transportation and infantry.”Responsible for standing guard over the Camp Wilson FASP and the Mojave Viper Support Detachment Armory, the Marines who are part of the guard force are tasked with an important job. “We’re guarding all the rounds that the units here use to train,” said Cpl. David Hatchett, sergeant of the guard. “Were responsible for the whole nine yards: the rounds, the grenades and all the explosives.” While these Marines are few and far between, they are the only authorized personnel aboard Camp Wilson who are allowed to carry live ammunition.“These Marines carry live ammunition because deadly force is authorized while protecting ammunition and weapons that are potentially harmful to innocent individuals if the ammunitions and weapons are in unauthorized hands,” said Johnson.Whether rain or shine, the guard force still serves a 24/7 security watch over the camp. When holidays come, the FASP and armory must remain under a watchful eye.“The guard consists of two sides: port side and starboard,” said Johnson. “Each side will be on duty 24 hours a day in shifts of four hours on post, eight hours off in 48 hour intervals. The sergeants and corporals of the guard stand 12 hours on, 12 hours off in 48 hour intervals. The majority of the Marines are here on temporary additional duty and without family members. Most of the Marines are here for six months and are constantly working outside their MOS [Military Occupational Specialty].”While Camp Wilson is not Iraq, it does serve as a stepping stone for what to expect of a camp guard force when deployed overseas.“Standing guard duty at Camp Wilson allows each Marine to understand the importance of the interior guard, regardless of MOS ,” said Johnson. “In today’s war, it is imperative that each Marine can perform basic duties of the interior guard and perform necessary protective measure that could possibly save lives in the future.”While Marines train aboard Camp Wilson in preparation for upcoming deployments, they can rest assured knowing there are other Marines watching out for their safety and well-being.
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