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'New England’s Own' security team, safe but deadly escorts

28 Jul 2006 | Cpl. Brian Reimers

They are the go-anywhere, do-anything Marines of 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment. 

“New England’s Own,” Personnel Security Detachment, a team that provides escorts and a quick reaction force, is proving to be the reliable go-to force when the mission calls for a safe ride across the city or bringing to bear heavy guns.

“In technical terms, we provide a tactical convoy for the battalion commander to survey his battle space with the ability to act as a maneuver element if need be,” said 23-year-old Sgt. Michael R. Beauton, a military policemen by trade, now serving as the PSD’s platoon sergeant.

“Really, we provide a safe but deadly escort,” said Lance Cpl. Christian B. Silverthorne, a 24-yearold infantryman from Boston, assigned to a dismount fire team.

It takes a wide variety of talent to keep the PSD rolling.  They operate from a series of uparmored humvees, just like any other Marine convoy. They’re stocked with nearly every sort of automatic weapon and just about any trick in the hat they might need to get out of a jam. Their ranks are made of Marines skilled in motor transport, communications, infantry and military policemen, among others.

“It makes for one hell of a versatile group of Marines, capable of handling any task,” explained Beauton, from Hamden, Conn. “All of the Marines here have special tools and experiences to add to our toolbox.”

There’s hardly a time the detachment is found lounging around. When they’re not on the road, they’re training, rehearsing, or preparing for their next mission. Constantly refueling humvees and receiving mission briefs is a daily lifestyle for the PSD, who have stacked thousands of miles onto their humvees’ odometers after almost five months here.

“It can make for some long days and hard work,” said 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Giancarlo Garcia, a 21-year-old turret gunner from Farmingville, N.Y. “But we do it for a reason. There is no better way to know the battlefield than firsthand.”

The Marines’ ongoing mission often times puts them deep into the heart of Fallujah, a city that was once an insurgent stronghold. That’s changed now that Marines control the city, but dangers still lurk. 

When those dangers arise, the PSD is on the hunt.

“I’m glad that I am part of the PSD and that I work for a battalion commander who definitely isn’t afraid to chase down insurgents.  I think that it is the only way to do it,” said Silverthorne. “Being out there makes for much better calculated decisions, rather than making them from behind a desk.”

The heavily-armed and highly-trained Marines have just about seen it all here. They have been targeted by everything the enemy could throw at them including improvised explosive devices, small-arms fire, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

They’ve walked away from each scrape with the insurgents worse for wear.

“We don’t, not go into an area or place because it’s bad,” Silverthorne added. “We go wherever we need to in order to get our leader where he needs to be, no matter what the situation is.”

“Whenever and wherever he goes, there are a group of Marines there to watch his back and ensure his safety,” added Garcia.

Whether it be a simple ride to a meeting at another base or a major operation, the PSD is sure to be within sight guarding the unit’s ultimate decision maker.

“When it comes down to it we are just a group of Marines doing our jobs,” Beuaton said.