Army

April 19, 2012

Marines find home at Fort Huachuca

Story and photo by Natalie Lakosil
Staff Writer
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Three Marines from the Fort Huachuca Marine Corps Detachment raise the American flag in front of their building.

Marines stationed on an Army installation?

Yes. A few good men and women temporarily call Fort Huachuca “home.” Most of them are students here, attending training before they move on to permanent duty stations.

“It is an excellent opportunity for Marines being here at an Army base, especially the Intelligence Center of Excellence, to share the different cultures and the knowledge of crossing services because we both have different experiences,” said Capt. David Williams, commander, Marine Corps Detachment, Fort Huachuca.

“We represent the commandant Marine Corps and training command to the schoolhouses and the leadership here on Fort Huachuca,” Williams said. The detachment was started in 1971.

“Our major contributor to students is the UAS (unmanned aircraft system) schoolhouse 2/13th [Aviation Regiment] and the HT-JCOE (Human Intelligence Training Joint Center of Excellence), where we have three instructors teaching a defense strategic debriefing course.” Williams said. Other courses offered are the imagery intelligence officers course, the operators, repairs, defense strategic debriefer, intelligence and advanced source operators courses, Williams said, adding they also have Marines working at the Joint Interoperability Test Command.

There are currently 22 permanent Marines, and about 60 students. “So, just representing the Marine Corps in those courses — that’s basically what we do,” Williams said.

Marines are stationed on Fort Huachuca because it is consolidated training, Williams said.

“Basically it saves Marine Corps’ money. We don’t have to build something — the Army has already built it. We just latch onto it, provide instructors, then provide students,” Williams said.

That kind of sharing goes on across the services. There are six other detachments around the nation that fall under Marine Corps intelligence schools and throughout the Marine Corps and other services there are detachments everywhere, Williams said.

“The Marines fall under Intelligence Command because most the school before the unmanned aircraft systems were intelligence guys, then when the UAS built up, it switched, and Marines are predominantly UAS Marines in the barracks now,” Williams said.

“Obviously UASs are a great intelligence surveillance reconnaissance asset, because of its ability to stay airborne for a extremely long time, low risk to troops, low signature, visual and audio, audible and radar signature. So obviously the Marine Corps is going to capitalize on that as the nation’s expeditionary force of readiness,” Williams said.

“The flying environment is outstanding training because it is high altitude and hot, there is a wealth of air space here to fly in, and flights are easy to come by and many. The high altitude and the heat is good training for the Marines because it makes the planes react differently, much different then how they fly by the beach, so it is good to get this training initially then go out to the fleet and already have that experience — how mother nature affects the aircraft,” said Senior Enlisted Advisor, Daniel Penrose.

“We have been playing with the UASs since the 1980s and experimenting with it, so just like the rest of the services we have the same requirements to provide support,” Williams said. “Now we are moving into the cargo UAS with the Marine Corps, and we are leading the way for that. That is going to be interesting, it’s actually using helicopter type UASs and picking up small loads and doing what we were doing with helicopters, risking crews. Now we can do it with unmanned helicopters,” Williams said.

A typical day for a Marine at Fort Huachuca is not very different from that of any other service. Marines get up, attend physical training in the morning, eat breakfast, go to school, have a formation in the afternoon, study hall, overnight liberty at the barracks and get ready for next day.

“The operational culture [here] is different. At Camp Pendleton, for example, are Marines and Sailors. Here we are interacting with Australian soldiers, a lot of civilians which is difficult for us to get used to, and then the Soldiers. Both in staff and student environment we see a lot of different services that are foreign nationals and just the act of working with contractors and civilians is just different,” Penrose said.

“I have learned a lot of different things, learned how the Army operates and have a better understanding so I’ll be better going forward when I leave this billet. Hopefully the Soldiers that operate with the Marines can … understand the Marine Corps better. That’s kind of what the other advantage of the detachment to being on other bases is that cross-cultural understanding breaks down a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes,” Williams added. “And even though we are different services, there is a friendly rivalry but we all protect and defend the constitution. We are all in the same fight.”

The 111th  Military Intelligence Brigade is the sponsor command for the Marine [Corps] Detachment; they help to support computer services amongst other things. “They welcomed us with open arms,” Penrose said.

Information found on http://www.mcis.usmc.mil/huachuca/default.aspx states the Marine mission is to “Represent USMC interests and the CMC, ensure the proper administration of all Marine Corps matters on Fort Huachuca, and train Intelligence and UAS Marines in entry, intermediate, and advanced-level MOS (military occupational specialty) skills as well as supervise all related training attended by Marines at USAIC (U.S. Army Intelligence Center) in order to provide qualified Marines to the operating forces and supporting establishment.”




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