MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT --
All military police officers are trained in distinctive skills that allow them help accomplish their command’s mission. But, what separates them is the lessons learned through stories and experiences from the staff in their unit. That is where the Provost Marshal’s Office of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort stands out. It is the diverse military backgrounds of the officers in MCAS Beaufort’s PMO that make the unit unique and effective in their duties.
The mission of PMO is to provide access control and a law enforcement capability for Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. To protect the lives, property and rights of all residents, to maintain order, and to enforce the UCMJ, State, and Federal regulations. On any given day, PMO has around 250 officers on staff and they are a mix of Marines, civilians and contractors. Out of the civilians, all five military services are represented. Even some federal agencies are represented.
“It is really neat honestly,” said Jeffrey McKamey, the Deputy Chief of Police for PMO. “We just hired two Coast Guardsman and now all five military services are represented in the unit.”
Because of specified training throughout the different branches, each officer has a lesson, skill, or experience to bring to the PMO. Each officer has a range of skills that make them valuable to Fightertown’s mission.
“We have some jurisdiction on the water in Beaufort and the maritime training given to our Navy and Coast Guard officers really helps us in that area,” said McKamey. “The Coast Guard has a lot to offer on expanding our water security programs because of their law enforcement exercises conducted on the water.”
Officers with a background in the Air Force bring unique experience pertaining to flight line security. The bulk of security concerns on Air Force installations revolve around flight operations.
“The Air Force can bring some different perspective due to their training.” said Wildenthaler . “The Air Force is heavily reliant on security for the flight line and the Marine Corps is an infantry force more than anything. So the perspectives brought can be beneficial for all of PMO.”
There are some members of PMO who have had no military experience and can still bring good perspectives to the unit. Civilian trained police officers are proficient in situations that don’t necessarily occur on military installations such as traffic and crimes that need more investigative training.
“We have two state troopers and they have a lot more accident investigation and training when it comes to our highways.” Wildenthaler said. “Our operations officer is able to bring a great deal of crime scene type analysis that Marines and county police do not necessarily have the training in.”
The county and state police have a different approach when handling civilians on and around the base. Having someone trained to deal with civilians can be beneficial to PMO when patrolling throughout Beaufort.
“We have a police officer in Florida who comes up and does a couple of training classes,” Wildenthaler said. ”He shows us things they do on the outside. Different ways of dealing with situations. For example, interacting with people you have pulled over. They may not understand something like stopping for colors.”
The interaction between civilian and military, and the diverse military backgrounds of the officers are what make MCAS Beuafort’s PMO unique. Everyone can learn a little something from their counterpart just by listening to a story from their past. Everyday can be a learning experience with every new officer hired at MCAS Beaufort.
“It would get boring if we were all the same,” Wildenthaler said. “Having all the different experiences, it gives people something to talk about experiences to share.”