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Security Company Stands Watch in Djibouti
Marines deter, detect, defend and mitigate terrorist activity.
U.S. Marine Cpl. Joe Brophy, 6th Provisional Security Force, stands watch March 15 at one of the many security points that surrounds Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mary Popejoy
By Petty Officer 1st Class Mary Popejoy
Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa
CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti, March 27, 2007 — With the temperature nearing the 100-degree mark and the scorching sun of Djibouti beating down, Marines from the 6th Provisional Security Company (PSC) stood watch around Camp Lemonier March 15, as they do every day as part of the security measures in place to protect all the valuable assets on station.
While in Djibouti, the mission of 6th PSC, which is comprised of 12 reserve units from eight different states, is to deter, detect, defend and mitigate terrorist activity in order to provide a stable platform for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa to accomplish its mission. Part of their responsibility is the security of each entry and exit point of the camp and conducting joint patrols with the Djiboutian army.
Working alongside their Djiboutian counterparts gives them a perspective they wouldn’t normally have in this part of the world.
“We don’t live here, they do. They understand the culture of this country better than we do,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Darin Powers, 6th PSC commanding officer, a native of Fairfax, Va. “We will not be effective in keeping this base safewithout their partnership. They know what’s not normal far before we ever will and that is why it’s critical we work with the Djiboutian police, army and air force,” said Powers.
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Joe Brophy, a native of San Diego, Calif., agrees that having a strong partnership is critical to mission success.
“It’s probably one of the most important parts of our mission,” he said. “I was on post with our Djiboutian counterparts the other night and we had a good time talking. We’re working through the language barrier, but we get along great,” added Brophy.
It is because of this unique partnership the U.S. Marines are able to learn from the Djiboutians.
“Working with the locals you get to see the world from a different perspective because they haven’t had some of the experiences we’ve had,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Hugh McElrath, a native of Hyattsville, Md. “It’s also interesting to see their perspective of life in general.” With their help, 6th PSC can do their part to support Operation Enduring Freedom.
“The Middle East is a breeding ground for extremism, so it’s better to actively engage the issue head on, vice waiting for them to come after us,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Dustin Nigg, a native of Temecula, Calif.