Marines

MP’s love their motorhomes, for good reason

2 May 2009 | Cpl. Bryce C.K. Muhlenberg

Camp Lejeune has recently experienced high priority events to include President Obama’s visit, and most recently, operation “Urgent Response,” which tested Camp Lejeune’s preparedness during terrorist and emergency situations.

Constant communication and situational awareness is key when avoiding the brink of chaos and Marines of Military Police Company have just the tool for the job.

 Enter the tactical camper.

 “We really try to take care of this bad boy, because we use it so much – it really can’t go down,” said Lance Cpl. Jordan A. Hicks, a special detail section leader with Military Police Company, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

 Hicks is referring to the MP dubbed Mobile Command Post, which is a factory customized Ford M-115 Class A motorhome, the same thing retired Marines are commonly seen crossing the country in, only this one has a few tricks up its sleeves.

 “The four radios in this thing, and even the mobile handsets, hold all frequencies for the surrounding law enforcement and military entities and we have complete Internet and satellite capability as well as telephone and fax,” said Cpl. Fernando D. Lara, the noncommissioned officer in charge of special detail section with the company.  “We also have a long range surveillance camera with digital focus and infrared capabilities.  This thing even senses when the tires are getting low and refills them on its own using the air brakes -- yes, it is awesome.”

 The MCP commonly becomes a communication and command position during serious emergencies, political and high profile events, but more importantly, it’s mobile, said Hicks, referring to its recent use during training when a notional deadly chemical agent released into the atmosphere began blowing in the MCP’s direction during “Urgent Response.”

 “We just picked up and changed position and kept relaying information like nothing had happened,” said Hicks, who noted this wouldn’t be possible with a firm based command operations center.  “We tracked call signs and corresponding positions throughout the event on our white board and maps.  On another board we kept a time line and received electronic logs through the internet.  This way, anyone could come in, see exactly what was happening where and communicate off of that, and they did.”

 The diesel mammoth comes complete with all the bells and whistles, to include all signal lights and sirens found on standard patrols cars, a global positioning system, full air-conditioning, two awnings on each side of the vehicle and high powered flood lights, said Hicks.

  “The air-conditioning is also great for when we arrest people, like at Sand Jam, where it was hot and we had a whole bunch of people to house and process,” said Lara.  “They told us this thing was worth half a million dollars and I can definitely believe it.  The communications and navigation information available to someone in the vehicle is outrageous.  It feels good knowing we are one of the most valuable assets in our company.”

 Its roots may grow from the docile camping and road tripping community, but its effectiveness in the intense and chaotic lives of MP’s and military personnel make it apt for any terrorist or emergency situation facing Camp Lejeune and its heroes aboard.  So, if ever a threat needs to be mitigated in a controlled and successful manner, Marines can be confident the valiant men and women of MP Company will ready with the MCP.