Next Monday through Friday in Swansboro, N.C., the U.S. Marines will replace police officers in conducting random checkpoint searches and patrolling residential neighborhoods.
|The Marines meet with town officials to plan military police exercise. Col. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr., 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Commander, far right, and Lt. Col. Lawrence D. Nicholson, far left, Battalion Landing Team’s commanding officer, talk to local officials, left to right, Swansboro Mayor Paul W. Edgerton, Town Manager Bill Price, and Police Chief Harry Pugliese.|
“Camp Lejeune has done so much to help our local law enforcement,” said Police Chief Harry Pugliese, referring to the unorthodox cross training. “This is our chance to give back.”
Since Swansboro Police officers have been to Camp Lejeune for many specialized training exercises, at no cost to the police department, Pugliese said he is more than happy to reciprocate to help the Marines.
“If I sent my guys to school for this type of stuff, we’d deplete our budget,” said Pugliese.
In the past few years, Swansboro police have engaged in several live-fire training exercises, and recently took part in a hostage-rescue scenario. All previous training took place at Camp Lejeune.
This time the Marines will come to Swansboro so they can gain some real-world experience, rather than in the artificial environment of the military base. Marines with the 26th Expeditionary Unit Battalion Landing Team will take over police operations for a week, according to a release from Cpl. Derek A. Shoemake.
It will be a “very unique training opportunity,” said Maj. James Christmas. The Marines are expected to train all week as domestic military police. Their assignments will include checkpoints and patrols. Christmas said it was a unique form of training because it was in the real world environment.
“This is dynamic stuff,” he said. “We’ll be working in an environment with everyday people. You don’t get things like pets and kids in a training facility.”
The exercise is expected to go well, said Christmas, because the town has welcomed the Marines with open arms, unlike other cities that have resisted military urban training.
“We have to work closely together,” he said. “Daily, our commanding officers will meet with the town officials to go over that day’s plans. So far they have given us any help we need,” explained Christmas.
The checkpoint training is designed to teach Marines proper checkpoint security, according to Christmas. Soldiers will learn how to stop and search vehicles and the people in them. Residents will not be affected, he said, because the Marines already have a number of “role players” who will be the actual ones stopped and searched rather than the general public.
Marines will also learn how to deal with certain patrol scenarios, and how to move strategically through developed areas, according to Christmas.
“Another good thing about what we are doing is that we are staying in Swansboro,” said Christmas. “That makes it much more realistic than if we just drove down here every day.”
The purpose of the training is to be ready for the “real thing” when it comes, according to Christmas. He said that he expects this unit to be called upon for such duties in the Mediterranean region later this summer, perhaps in July. The training is not for domestic use of the military, according to the release from Shoemake.
“They are going that extra mile by training in Swansboro,” said Col. Kenneth J. Glueck, Jr., 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit Commander. “That type of dedication is what makes us the best.”
Gov. James B. Hunt Jr., D-N.C., was not available for comment. A spokeswoman for his office was unaware of the plans and could not tell WorldNetDaily if the troops were operating under Title 10 or Title 32 of the U.S. Code. She said she could not comment on whether Hunt was aware of the exercise and did not know if he had given approval.
Title 32 generally applies to the Army and Army National Guard, which requires approval from the governor. Title 10 applies to the U.S. Armed Forces and requires presidential approval before the military can participate in a police action within the United States.
WorldNetDaily has reported extensively on the growing trend of U.S. military forces training in civilian settings. During the past year, there have been over 200 such military training exercises in civilian areas, many involving live arms fire.