MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with the Military Police Detachment, Combat Logistics Battalion 15, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, have been practicing their craft at the detention center they built for training during MEU Exercise taking place here April 2-12.
The construction of the facility took the Marines an entire day. It includes two large working tents, two large metal storage containers and six pallets of concertina wire, all for a training facility half the size of one they would build if called to shore.
“If we do get called to shore, the planning process will help us determine the amount of detainees we can expect, and from there, make a decision on what size detention center needs to be built,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian G. Kendrick, MP staff non-commissioned offer in charge, MP Detachment, CLB-15, 15th MEU. “For this evolution, the holding area is approximately 55 feet by 55 feet and can hold no more than 20,” added the 33-year-old native of Waverly, Va.
The detainees are held as long as necessary, but being held longer than a day requires approval from Col. Scott D. Campbell, the commanding officer for the 15th MEU. From there a decision is made whether they are released, transferred to other authorities or to the ship’s holding facility.
“Our mission is to maintain and supervise detainees who are turned over to us from capturing units,” said Cpl. Preston D. Carmichael, field MP, MP Detachment, CLB-15, 15th MEU. “We provide the necessities such as three meals a day, water, appropriate clothing and shelter during inclement conditions. Religious customs are also taken into consideration,” added the 22-year-old native of Lawrence, Mass.
The MP’s training is more extensive than maintaining this facility. Earlier in the week they donned full riot gear and conducted non-lethal tactics and the escalation of force training.
“This is my first time working around a detention facility,” said Lance Cpl. Jonathan D. Sanchez, field MP, MP Detachment, CLB-15, 15th MEU. “I have learned a lot, and I’m very excited for this deployment,” added the 22-year-old native of Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Marines have developed standard operating procedures when dealing with detainees. The first step is to bring them in to the detention facility one at a time, where they are processed and stripped of their possessions.
“After the initial holding area phase, we process them into our facility,” said Carmichael. “At that time, the corpsman will evaluate the detainee and determine if they are carrying any diseases.”
A more thorough search is then conducted and the individuals are placed into body cuffs. After establishing positive control of the detainee, the MPs work at a 2-to-1 ratio and escort them into the holding area.
“We have been rotating our Marines through as detainees,” said Cpl. Justin M. Dryer, field MP, CLB-15, 15th MEU. “This has been a great training experience,” added the 21-year-old native of Lancaster, Calif.
The 15th MEU is a Marine Air Ground Task Force comprised of approximately 2,300 Marines and sailors. This exercise is designed to prepare the unit for its deployment scheduled for this fall.