CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Two High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles were spotted entering a vehicle check point here without clearance, and the drivers had been identified as local nationals. With the potential threat to security imminent and the base primary force protection assets committed elsewhere, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection activated the Sector Response Team.
In a matter of minutes, the SRT Marines, donning their modular tactical vest, Kevlar, rifles and full combat loads, rallied in response to a simulated threat exercise, Oct. 27.
SRTs are comprised of Marine augments from tenant commands here, which are responsible for the security of specific sectors aboard the base.
“When an incident happens [aboard Camp Leatherneck], we need to be prepared to respond to any kind of breach in security,” said 2nd Lt. David A. Morgenstern, AT/FP officer, 3rd MAW (Fwd).
This is the sixth SRT drill the wing has conducted since their arrival here in March. It’s Morgenstern’s goal that with every simulated training scenario, the SRT Marines in the MWHS-3 sector gain an increased familiarity with their sector of responsibility and are able to rehearse various mission scenarios they may be asked to execute during a real incident.
For this particular scenario, SRT fire teams were dispatched to key intersections with instructions to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. While maintaining radio communications, the fire teams were informed that local nationals had commandeered HMMWVs and were unlawfully on the base.
With the information provided, it was up to the fire teams to execute the plan in response to the simulated security threat.
“We hustled to the intersection north of [Living Area #5] to meet up with the rest of the [SRT] and get our assignments,” said Cpl. Zachary Sedam, SRT fire team leader and operations clerk, 3rd MAW (Fwd). “Our team set up a [snap] vehicle check point near the potential threat.”
According to Morgenstern, a Carlsbad, Calif., native, SRTs train to certain core competencies they may be asked to utilize in an emergency. By continuously training in the execution of these core competencies, the SRTs are able to effectively implement an established force protection plan, he added.
“It’s important for us to have these [simulated threat exercises] because if PMO or [the Quick Reaction Force] can’t respond to an incident because they’re spread thin, [SRTs] can take some of that weight off their shoulders and share the responsibility,” said Cpl. Michael Grabowsky, an SRT member and Marine Corps Integrated Maintenance Management System specialist with MWHS-3. “This is a collective effort from all the [Marines and essentially the entire base].”
At the end of the exercise, the SRT rallied back at the wing compound to discuss the significance of having these types of drills, and the Marines made suggestion on how to improve on the training during the debrief.
“We achieved our goal with this exercise today,” said Morgenstern. “The Marines responded quickly and confidently to the simulated threat, and applied their training effectively and with great results.”