MARFORPAC Marines train for SAF[MIGRATE]

By Cpl. Danielle M. Bacon | June 29, 2004

Security Augmentation Force Marines from Camp Smith honed their skills on different weapon systems during a live fire exercise at a Marine Corps Base Hawaii range, June 28.

Marines were picked to be part of a force that could supplement the Provost Marshal’s Office.

“Our purpose is to defend, protect and guard Camp Smith against terrorist threats,” said Capt. Gary Kipe, officer in charge of the SAF. “If we get actionable intelligence that any base in Hawaii was targeted by terrorist we could be used to beef up security on and around Camp Smith. We are a tool in the battalion tool belt, to be used if needed.”

Not just anyone was picked to be on the force.

“Each Marine was picked by high (physical fitness test) scores, good range scores and no disciplinary action,” said Kipe. “We looked for the most reliable and best Marines suited for defense.”

The Marines went through five phases of classes to familiarize themselves with the weapons and duties of the SAF.

The Marines covered each weapon system to be fired to include handling, safety, assembly and disassembly.

At Range 5 at MCB Hawaii, force Marines received classes, ammo and proceeded to fire the M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun.

“The Marines gained confidence in their ability to fire various weapons systems.  For some, it was their first time shooting the .50 cal and the first time since (Marine Combat Training) to fire the (M249 Squad Automatic Weapon,)” said Sgt. William Screws, a SAF squad leader.
Next the Marines fired the SAW at pop up targets.

“To keep the enemies heads down you want to lay constant fire down range, but you don’t want to waste ammunition,” said Kipe to his Marine’s before firing.

The Marines practiced alternating fire, which is called talking machine-guns. “You want to put the same volume of fire down range as if you are just holding down the trigger of one weapon.

The impact area is getting lit up, but you are using one-third the ammunition,” said Screws, who spent four years and did three floats with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.  “I was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan and Mosul, Iraq.  I have learned that you never know when you will get the call to go.  When you do, you are thankful for the training.”
Throughout the course of the day the Marines also fired the Joint Service Combat Shotgun, the M16A2 Service Rifle and M9 Pistol.

“It was way more motivating than sitting here firing my computer,” said Cpl. Curtis Clouser, an SAF fire-team leader. “I feel better prepared for combat than if I wasn’t training with SAF.”

The SAF Marines train to ensure they are ready for anything.

“We train about once a month to keep the Marines fresh and engaged,” said Kipe. “They practice patrolling, use of deadly force and various other (military police) functions.”