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U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

In Any Clime and Place

Personal Protection Team of SK13 puts rounds down range

By Cpl. Scott Reel | | November 12, 2013

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Members of a personal protection team for Col. John Howard, coalition commander of exercise Southern Katipo 2013, received weapons training during a familiarization shoot with the Individual Weapon (IW) Steyr assault rifle and Sig Sauer P226 9mm pistol during the initial stages of SK13 at Waiouru Military Camp, New Zealand, Nov. 7.

Fourteen U.S. Marines with 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force are training with their multinational counterparts during the exercise. Of them, four were chosen for the commander’s security team based on their special reaction team training and experience.

The commander’s protection is a joint service team made up of Marines and members of the New Zealand Defence Force.

“I’ve worked with Marines overseas and found them good to work with. So far everything’s been good,” said Warrant Officer 1 Percy McLaughlin, warrant officer for Headquarters Deployable Joint Inter-Agency Task Force, NZDF.

Throughout the morning, McLaughlin led the joint-combined team in close quarter drills, which simulated situations they might encounter in future operations.

Cpl. Thomas Cornwall, a military policeman with 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, said he is happy to work with his New Zealand counterparts and their different style of weapons and way of life.

“The Steyr is awesome,” Cornwall said. “It’s a new weapon to shoot and did great today.”

The team of seven had 900 rounds to shoot in order to become familiarized with the IW Steyr and Sig Sauer P226 9mm pistol.

“I’m using this opportunity to assess their skills and see how far we can take the practice based on that,” McLaughlin said.

He started the training with static, close-range drills that increased to rapid pivot and communication drills that required the team to yell for cover when re-loading or fixing a weapons malfunction.

Although the team had never worked together and battled a learning curve, the range moved seamlessly, Cornwall said.

“The military police seem like they have very similar tactics and procedures,” he said. “They know what they are doing.”

The team flies down to the south island for the beginning of the exercise with confidence in their gear and more importantly, each other.


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