MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE --
They’ve come a long way to train and they have two weeks to complete it. The Marines of Military Police Company C, Headquarters and Service Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group are not strangers to travel or the rigors of serving as military police in the field.
“Our unit has had people deployed since 2003,” said Maj. Steven Luttrell, Company C commanding officer. “Soon enough we may be a law enforcement battalion, and when that happens we don’t know where we can end up.”
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and its satellite installations presented a promising opportunity for the reserve unit from Ohio. The 32 Marines receiving instruction at the Supporting Establishment Law Enforcement Academy at Camp Johnson had an opportunity to step outside the box of their usual training.
The company received training for field military police work. Indeed, many of the unit’s personnel have seen multiple deployments: Conducting base security, detainee handling, vehicle and personnel control points and convoy security both in training and in practice. The reservists come with a wide variety of professional and educational backgrounds, but the Marine Corps has given each a shared knowledge of the military police field.
The training the company faces at the academy, however, will expand their knowledge base to help them deal with both field and civil law enforcement issues.
“This training has been outstanding,” said Luttrell. “Everybody has really been attentive. You can tell by the quality of the questions being asked. You come back from the practice application (exercises) and the instructors say we’re doing well.”
MCB Camp Lejeune is home to specially designed urban and weapons training facilities, along with experienced law enforcement instructors who teach at the academy at Camp Johnson. Instructors have filtered a twelve-week course into two weeks of essential training. The Marines of Company C learned to deal with law enforcement issues beyond the battlefield such as responding to domestic disturbance calls, active shooters in a civilian environment, use of force, crime scene processing, hostage situations and work with police dog handlers.
“We are getting a lot out of it,” said Luttrell. “We’re not going to walk out of here as an elite trained Marine Corps police officer. We know that. But you can consider this wetting our feet. We’re getting enough to make us want more, and the instructors have already said that they would like to see us come back next year for additional training.”
Between the training they are receiving to deal with domestic law enforcement issues and the years of accumulated field experience, Company C has more than certificates to stand on. They’re undergoing real-time training to go along with their classroom instruction.
“They will dispatch us, so to speak,” said Luttrell. “We’ll go through an actual scenario. Yesterday we covered larceny. We had a break in, so we had to go in and do evidence collection. You draw a sketch of the room, talk to the victim and go through the whole process. We even write up a report afterwards, and then the instructors critique us on how we do. It’s really been a great learning experience.”
Experience is something that the unit thrives on. A unique blend of Marines, each with their own civilian profession on top of their military specialties, Company C has police officers, managers, graduate students and engineers amongst its ranks. On top of it all, the unit’s members know each other.
“It’s a unit,” said Luttrell. “It’s your unit. Not only are they your friends, but you know their strengths and weaknesses. You can help them out when you need to. Marines take care of Marines. We know there is a strong bond when you deploy with somebody, or you’ve been with someone as long as some of these Marines have.”
The ongoing reorganization of the Marine Corps means that units have to be ready to perform multiple roles, said Luttrell. Company C’s continued training, deployment experiences and combined civil occupations make for a blend of skills and qualifications.
With their training complete, the company will make room for the next wave of reserve MPs in need of training. They will return to Ohio and their civilian jobs until mid-July when the call to train will sound again.