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The instructors for the new special reaction team course held at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune gather after the graduation of the course’s inaugural class, April 6. Each class trains around 30 law enforcement personnel to take on the tactically demanding role of SRT member, helping Marine Corps installations meet their SRT requirements.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul Peterson

New special reaction team school graduates first class

12 Apr 2012 | Lance Cpl. Paul Peterson

The inaugural class for the first Headquarters Marine Corps certified course designed to train special reaction team personnel graduated, April 6. The course, which utilizes training facilities aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune including the ranges at Stone Bay, certifies military and civilian personnel for roles on SRT teams.

Every Marine Corps installation is required by the law enforcement manual to maintain an SRT capability, said Maceo B. Franks, the executive director for Marine Corps Police Academy East and HQMC’s East Coast senior law enforcement coordinator. Graduates of the course will receive the additional military occupational specialties of 5816 for enlisted Marines and 5815 for officers, certifying them as SRT members. In addition, civilians that graduate the course will meet the position description for federal police officer SRT members.

Each class is made up of around 30 students drawn from various Marine Corps installations. The civilian and military personnel that attend each of the certifying courses are trained in a variety of functional areas, including stronghold assault, hostage rescue and advanced shooting.

“The cadre of instructors has more than 80 years of SWAT experience,” said Capt. Craig Thompson, a graduate of the course who will soon bring his newly acquired skills to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, where he will serve as the anti-terrorist force protection officer. “What they bring to this course is a tried and true series of tactics, techniques and procedures.”

Thompson also said that his experiences in the course will allow him to act as an adviser to his future command. Not only has he trained to operate within the small SRT unit itself, but his understanding of SRT capabilities makes his experiences an additional benefit to any Marine Corps command or installation.

“The training is paramount and you can’t get by without it,” said Cardo Urso, a retired master gunnery sergeant and one of the founders of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. “Don’t stop training. Train on your physical fitness, train on your tactics and move toward the sound of the guns.”

It is a unique call to arms: “Move toward the sound of the guns,” and the recent graduates of the SRT course have trained to do nothing less. They overcame numerous challenges over the three-week course. In their last days of training, the students conducted assaults into unknown structures, suppressing armed adversaries and rescuing unarmed hostages. 

The new graduates will return to their units to spread the word about MCB Camp Lejeune’s new SRT school. In the meantime, even more SRT classes are in the works. In addition to three annual SRT classes of around 30 students, Franks said the school will also conduct three certifying courses in SRT leadership, command and marksmanship.