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Life as a PMO Augment

29 May 2009 | Lance Cpl. Elyssa Quesada Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

Those who live and work aboard the Air Station and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island notice the military police that keep the streets safe and stand guard at every entrance. Mingled among them are designated Marines that are sent to the Provost Marshals Office to serve and protect their installation for a six-month tour.

“The security of the installation never goes away, no matter how understaffed a unit may be,” said Capt. Kevin Strickroth, the PMO operations officer. “The augments support our mission by providing continuous support.”

Before donning an M-9 service pistol, a second chance vest and, last but not least, a numbered badge, there is a three-week training augmented Marines must go through before calling themselves military policemen.

“We take the most critical aspects from the military and civilian police academies and condense it into a three-week certification process,” Strickroth said.

Marines and sailors are taught when to use deadly force, their authority and jurisdiction, departmental procedures and more, during multiple classroom lessons.

Along with the classroom lessons, they are also taken to the pistol range. The range is included in training, because augments must learn to use, reload, and above all, safely handle their weapons.

In addition to weapons’ training, the augments are also sprayed with OC spray to receive certification to carry the toxin while on duty.

“The empowering of an individual that gives them the law enforcement capabilities is granted by the installation commanding officer,” Strickroth said. “These augments have the ability to give lawful orders, make apprehensions and detain people and more.”

Once a person has completed the course, they are assigned to their platoons and begin working long hours while applying the knowledge from their training.

“I’m going through school for criminal justice,” said Cpl. Sarah Starjnski, a military policeman with the Provost Marshals Office. “Being with PMO will help me understand the laws and process of an incident.”

Along with the augments that help with the security of base, Marine Corps wide, military police have also hired civilian law enforcement.

“It would have been impossible to maintain security without augments. They are an important piece of our infrastructure,” said Maj. Bart Logue, the PMO provost marshal. “Often times, it’s not a job they signed up for, but they execute a job well done.”

As the Marine Corps hires more civilian law enforcement, the augment program will soon become unnecessary and the Marines and sailors will be returned to their units.

However, a day may come in the future when PMO will need more augments. If that happens, then training like this will ensure they are well prepared.