MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The cries of the mob carry over the howling wind as a platoon of Marines with Company F, Anti-Terrorism Battalion, takes to the street donned in their riot control gear, ready to meet the rampaging crowd. Despite the crowds’ growing unruliness, the Marines take their positions and become a steadfast barricade as one Marine calls out, “Six steps forward!”
This was the scene as Marines with Co. F, AT Bn., attached to 2nd Marine Division, underwent a two day final exercise which concluded a section of the company’s pre-deployment training work-up while aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Throughout their work-up, the company conducted a variety of training exercises meant to prepare the Marines for the possible demands that may be required of them as a Theater Security Cooperation force.
“First and foremost we’re trained in infantry skills because that is our unit’s foundation,” said Staff Sgt. David M. Tellefsen II, platoon commander, 4th platoon, Co. F, AT Bn. “However, we’ve transitioned into the title of Anti-Terrorism Battalion and trained in basic security tactics allowing us to switch between infantry and security tactics as needed to accomplish our mission as a TSC.”
Company F’s mission as a TSC force is to help train allied nations to detect, deter and defend against terrorism while standing ready to respond to a crisis in the event of a terrorist attack.
“It’s important to have a well rounded unit in order to handle theater security cooperation type missions,” said Tellefsen. “It’s possible for any number of situations to arise that will call us to action, and we have to be prepared to handle the mission no matter the emergency.”
Each of Co. F’s platoons received three days of training covering a large amount of non-lethal skills and tactics meant to prepare them for these potential demands. The majority of the training went over tactics for riot control as well as procedures to defend or overtake an embassy while consciously working to preserve life in the process.
“Given the short amount of time we had with the Marines, we focused on teaching them two methods to deal with riots,” said Sgt. Levi Kipp, non-lethal instructor, Training Company, Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment. “The first method being platoon on line, which is used to push the crowd street to street, block to block, similar to the methods used in the Los Angeles riots. The other method is a modified version of a British formation, called Zulu March, that is used to push a crowd back a very short distance.”
Throughout their final exercise, the Marines were bombarded with a variety of simulations dealing with riots, embassy attacks and intelligence recovery, during which they were evaluated on their ability to incorporate the numerous non-lethal skills they were taught.
“With non-lethal tactics you’re only bound by the limits of your own creativity,” said Kipp. “So, instead of teaching escalation of force we teach the continuum of force which is similar to what police officers use to manage a situation before it gets out of hand.”
Each of the platoons also received lessons on Advanced Urban Combat and Close Quarter Battle tactics to allow Marines to attain a more detailed and overall safer entry during room clearings.
“We gave them lessons on basic close quarters battle doorway and stairway procedures for the Marines to build on,” said Sgt. Enrique Enriquez, close quarters battle instructor, Training Company, Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment. “It’s extremely important for these Marines to have more of a reserved element and be able to better control a situation in order to preserve life.”
With their new understanding of non-lethal methods and their importance for the Company’s upcoming mission, the Marines of Co. F, AT Battalion, are one step closer to being prepared to handle the demands of their upcoming deployment.
“Despite the short amount of time we had to train each of the platoons, the Marines have done significantly well and have come a long way in their ability to handle escalating situations with tools other than rifle rounds.”
Company F, Anti Terrorism Battalion, 4th Marine Division is a Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force designed to rapidly organize, train and deploy specially trained and sustainable task forces to detect, deter and defend against terrorism, as well as to conduct crisis response in the event of a terrorist attack. Co. F is attached to 2nd Marine Division while being supported by Marine forces based in Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Co. F, AT Battalion is comprised of Marine reservists from Marine Corps bases across the U.S. in states that include Hawaii, Louisiana, Alabama, Tallahassee, Florida, Mississippi, New York., Massachusetts and many more.