MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
A little-known company of 197 Marines in the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing work tirelessly and selflessly, preparing for the unknown.
They make their home at the desolate end of 5th Avenue, aboard Cherry Point, in a Spartan compound of white cinder-block buildings. The Marines are with Military Police Company, and this company has ambitious intentions for its role in the Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
"We are really leaning forward in terms of pushing our Marines to prepare for ground operations," said the commanding officer of MP Co., Maj. Terrance E. Fox, "The II Marine Expeditionary Force has an asset here that is ready to deploy at any time."
Many at Cherry Point immediately think of the Provost Marshal’s Office at the mention of the words military police. MP Co., however, is its own animal.
"We are more operations and field oriented," Fox said. "We don’t do tickets and we don’t do traffic stops."
What they do at MP Co. is train to deploy.
"We are preparing Marines to be dynamic and critical thinkers," said 1st Sgt. Wilbur T. Amaker, the first sergeant of MP Co. "Our Marines get more training than, to be honest, many infantry Marines, and I’m a former grunt. Sometimes, when I watch them out there, I get a little bit jealous."
The command at MP Co. stretch their training regimen to whatever extremes they can fathom, constantly striving to get out of their comfort zones.
"Fixed-point security? We can do that in our sleep and we’re very good at it," Fox said.
That is why the Marines of MP Co., with Fox and Amaker leading the way, are now trying to push the envelope to boost their stock and viability to II MEF.
The company has its very own dojo; a cramped, dimly lit room with frayed foam matting covering the floor. Three of the four walls are covered with martial arts gear, varying from weapons to pads. On the fourth wall is a mural bearing the insignia for the Marine Corps martial arts program, complete with the mantra, "One mind, any weapon."
It is in that spirit that the Marines of MP Co. are using their minds to increase the number and quality of their weapons.
The results of this philosophy stretches from the 18 qualified martial arts instructors who are a part of the small company all the way to sending Marines away to conduct survival, evasion, resistance and escape training.
"Don’t be surprised to see Marines running around in Ghillie suits soon," Fox said. "We’re getting ready to send some Marines to sniper school later in the season."
MP Co.’s command feels its best use to the MAGTF is as a flexible, quickly deployable entity.
"We can see the writing on the wall as to what II MEF wants of us," Fox said.
The company was the first of its kind to stand up and did so in June 2009. Currently, 70 of its 197 Marines are deployed, with more ready to go.
"Within a week we can have a Marine’s pre-deployment work done," Amaker said. "Out the door in seven days."
That, ultimately, is the purpose behind MP Co.’s existence – the ability to deploy in multiple capacities, be it as a police mentoring team in a Third World country or providing squadron security for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing.
"We are able to push Marines out to different missions at a moment’s notice," Amaker said.