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Air Show receives extra help

22 May 2009 | Pvt. Spencer M. Hardwick

T-shirt and desert trouser-clad Marines waded through a crowd of more than 100,000 during the Air Show, helping to ensure the safety of all in attendance.

The recently-formed Crisis Management Force assisted the Provost Marshal’s Office with crowd control and traffic flow during the Air Show this past weekend. The group was organized to assist PMO in the off-chance an incident should occur aboard the base.

“We’re here to provide the public with a military presence,” said Staff Sgt. Roberto Rivera Jr., the mess hall’s chief cook and staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the CMF. “We’re basically an extra back-up force for anything that could happen. PMO can call us and we’ll be ready for anything.”

The Air Show was the first taste of action for the newly formed group. Despite their wet feet, they managed to make a difference over the weekend.

“We helped multiple lost children find their parents,” Rivera said. “They were so happy to have them back. It’s a good thing we were patrolling; those situations had the chance to turn sour, but they didn’t.”

The Marines noticed the difference they were making, even though working nine hours a day on the weekends wasn’t the most appealing way to spend their time.

“I think it’s great that we were out here,” said Private First Class Ladarius Mitchell, an administration clerk with the Installation Personnel Administration Center. “It was really gratifying to see these people’s reactions when we helped them out. We’re helping to protect and we’re also freeing up PMO from menial tasks to offer them more relief.”

Marines assigned to the CMF received multiple classes from PMO, including traffic control, use of force, defensive tactics, radio procedures, hazardous materials and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) training. They spent nearly 30 hours in the classroom learning vital skills to better assist PMO during the show.

While the details of the CMF are still in the works, the overall big picture of their purpose is clear: to assist PMO and help aid during times of crisis. They had the chance to hone their skills during the air show and are now more prepared in the case of emergency.