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Marines with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, conduct a security patrol during Exercise Desert Scimitar at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., May 12, 2014. It is not uncommon for Marines from different jobs to be called upon to maintain security during field training. 1st Marine Division acts as the headquarters element of I Marine Expeditionary Force during the exercise.

Photo by Sgt. Timothy Lenzo

Every Marine a rifleman: Security platoon stands up during Exercise Desert Scimitar

15 May 2014 | Sgt. Timothy Lenzo

Some of them work behind desks with computers, others in a warehouse surrounded by boxes of equipment, or on a stage with instruments, but for the next week they’ll replace their familiar surroundings with sand and 50 mph winds. 

The security platoon for Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, is tasked with base security during Exercise Desert Scimitar, May 12 through May 17. The unit is comprised of Marines of varying jobs when not in the field. Some of the Marines are from the 1st Marine Division Band, supply warehouses and administrative offices. They all come from different shops with different backgrounds.

Despite their diverse expertise, they have one thing bringing them together. This bond allows them to trust one another while maintaining security.

“Every Marine is a rifleman,” said Staff Sgt. Marcus Bailey, security platoon staff noncommissioned officer in charge.

This old adage is proven every day during Desert Scimitar. During the exercise, 1st Marine Division acts as the headquarters element of I Marine Expeditionary Force. This allows the division to test and refine its capabilities.

The platoon maintains proper procedures at entry control points, security posts and conducts daily patrols. They ensure only authorized individuals are allowed onto base and have a section ready as a quick reaction force.

“When Marines come to security platoon, they do the fundamental things of Marines,” said Marcus, a native of Panama City, Fla. “It’s about how we train. We are capable of utilizing any Marine at any level.

Having a blend of so many different jobs presents unique challenges to the Marines. For many of them, this is their first time working with the majority of their squad.

“We don’t know how we work with one another,” said Cpl. Ian Moore, a Marine musician with the battalion. “We don’t know how some people will respond to being put on the spot or being a leader.”

Moore, a native of Roseburg, Ore., makes an effort to learn and get to know his Marines to offset this issue. He wants to be effective regardless if he’s in the band or posting security. He understands he needs the Marines to his left and right to be successful at both.

Moore’s role as a member of the band requires him to be more on the ceremonial side of the Marine Corps, so he enjoys the opportunity to get out in the field and put his flak jacket and Kevlar on.

“We are always in dress blues or service uniforms,” Moore said. “Now we are in (camouflaged utilities) and getting dirty. It’s completely different.”

The security platoon Marines will keep security for the remainder of the exercise. They will be ready to answer the call whenever and wherever the Marine Corps needs them.