MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- The Air Station's Provost Marshals Office has a new group of Marines to strengthen their ranks and to help accomplish their never-ending mission to serve and protect Fightertown and the local military housing communities.
PMO's newest military policemen augments hit the streets of Fightertown after Col. Robert Lanham, the Air Station commanding officer, presented badges to each individual Marine during their graduation at the Air Station Gym Nov. 2.
"The purpose of the Marine military police augments is to reinforce and play a vital role to the security posture of the Marine Corps Air Station," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Gilbert Taylor, the Fightertown provost sergeant.
Marines are selected from the many units that make up the Air Station to be a part of the military police force. The augment program is open to staff noncommissioned officers through privates for a six-month period, Taylor explained.
"The good thing about this is that during times of manpower shortages their importance is emphasized and helps maintain a stable operational support of military police and security functions," Taylor said.
The PMO augments fulfill the same roles as a formally trained Marine MP does.
"When the Marine completes his or her training and pins on our badge, they are just as much of an MP as any other Marine in PMO," Taylor said.
Once a potential augment MP is identified by their leadership, those selected Marines undergo a detailed background screening process.
"The augments are taught everything the MPs are taught in nine weeks at our MOS school, in about three weeks here," said Cpl. Julio Rodela, the training noncommissioned officer for PMO.
All augments complete 80 hours of pre-service training, which consist of deadly force training, emergency vehicle operation, defensive tactics, shotgun and 9mm Beretta handgun familiarization fire, domestic violence training, pepper spray or “OC” certification, cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification, traffic laws and procedures, radio operation procedures and search and seizures.
"We learned everything from completing reports, to the proper way to stand duty at the front gate, to defensive tactics, to OC procedures," said Lance Cpl. Andrew Jenkins, a PMO augment from Marine Aircraft Logistics Squadron 31, general support equipment. “After being sprayed with OC, you’ll remember it for some time to come.”
After the pre-service training, the augments are ready to protect and serve the military community, according to Rodela.
"Without the augments, PMO would be strained to provide quality law enforcement service while supporting military policemen who are forward deployed," said Master Sgt. Timothy Jenkins, the PMO operations chief. “They’re a valuable asset to our mission.”
Fightertown’s PMO currently has approximately 20 deployed Marines who are supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and other deployed Marine Forces worldwide.