CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Marines, family and guests gathered for a ceremony to celebrate the activation of 1st Law Enforcement Battalion at Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 1.
The battalion already looks back on a rich history, which dates as far back as World War II and Vietnam as 1st Military Police Battalion.
The ceremony marked the beginning of a plan to raise two additional battalions across the Marine Corps to include II MEF in Camp Lejuene, N.C., and III MEF at Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan.
“I am humbled and privileged to be standing here as the first commanding officer of 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, but very much aware that this day is very much about more than any one man,” said Maj. Jan Durham, 1st LE Bn. commanding officer. “For the five months that I have been with the battalion as a CO, I have been amazed at what we have accomplished so far. I have been grateful for the hard work and dedication of the Marines.”
The Marines of 1st LE Bn. stand ready to carry out its mission to conduct operations in support of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force to enhance security and promote the rule of law. The battalion already has Marines forward deployed serving as military police advisors and trainers, but Durham ensured the capabilities of Marine Corps law enforcement extends far beyond its public image.
“Over the past 11 years of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, some lessons learned painfully, there has been a growing appreciation and a demand for, on the part of the warfighter, the unique skills and capabilities that MPs bring to the fight,” Durham said. “We do enforce traffic laws and we do write reports and tickets, and that’s good, but we do so much more than that.”
The broad capabilities of 1st LE Bn. are categorized into four essential tasks: to conduct law enforcement operations; policing operations; to provide police advising, training and partnering; and to conduct limited detainee and corrections operations.
“I would include battlefield forensics to help identify bomb-makers, as well as include biometrics identity operations, advising and training host nation security forces to bring their capabilities up to where they need to be,” said Durham. “I would include military working dog operations to not only find the roadside bombs, but to track down the bad guys who put them there. I would include criminal investigation support to host-nation prosecution of detainees, detainee operations, border operations, the list goes on.”
The battalion is gearing up to support the 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade during Large Scale Exercise-1/Javelin Thrust 2012 in July. Javelin Thrust is an exercise with Marine Forces Reserve and 1st MEB elements in the desert training area of the MAGTF combat center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
“We’re excited to get our Marines out there to participate in that and show what military police can do for the Marine Expeditionary Brigade,” said Capt. Anderson, 1st LE Bn. operations officer. “I absolutely hope that we continue to improve. I know that we have some good training out there already and as we bring everyone together, we can consolidate that and build up the strength of the Corps and set up the law enforcement Marines for success in the battlefield.”
There are currently nine military police line companies per major subordinate command. They are slated to deactivate as each of the battalions stand-up in the coming months.
“Much has been done,” Durham said. “Much remains to be done, but I am supremely confident in the abilities, the dedication and the work ethic of the Marines and sailors of 1st Law Enforcement Battalion.”