Not the greatest of pics but here is our Company Commander accepting a Meritorious Group Service Award from the State Department recently at American Embassy Manama Bahrain. As many of you may have surmised 2011 has been a busy year for FAST Company. Usually I am not at liberty to relate any of our current operations but we’ve had a few red hot irons stoking in the fiery furnace of the Middle East. While some of you may recall we had sent a platoon to Cairo
during the unrest in Egypt what you didn’t know is we also provided security to American Embassy Manama during the same period. It’s been a very dramatic spring for us. Your Marines have more than met the challenge as you will see below.
The citation reads as follows:
For meritorious service while providing reinforcement to U.S. Embassy Manama, Bahrain from 15 March to 5 April 2011. Fourth Platoon, Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST) Company Central Command ensured Embassy Manama was secure during a period of unprecedented violence and political unrest. The platoon’s dedication, professionalism, and expert knowledge of security operations brought great credit upon themselves, Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Company Central Command, Marine Corps Security Force Regiment, and the United States Marine Corps.
The award also lists the names of each member of the platoon. I also managed to get my hands on the endorsement nominating Fourth Platoon:
On 14 March 2011, the Gulf Cooperation Council sent troops of the Peninsula Shield Force to protect key facilities at the request of the Bahraini Government. The Bahraini Protest of 2011 had already been raging for over a month and the stability of the island nation was in question. Just days prior, elements of Bahrain’s Ministry of the Interior had lost control of the streets and violence was spreading throughout the island. As a result, over one thousand armed troops from Saudi Arabia and five hundred police from UAE with some 150 armored and 50 light vehicles deployed across the Bahraini-Saudi causeway. Not knowing what the intention of this force was, Regional Security Office Manama saw this deployment as an escalation of force that required the embassy to react.
A platoon of Marines from Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Company Central Command was dispatched on 15 March 2011 to reinforce the embassy. Fourth Platoon (A4) set up perimeter security, rooftop surveillance and a 24 hour Combat Operations Center (COC). Quickly establishing communication with its higher headquarters, A4 began day to day operations and successfully integrated into the existing perimeter defenses at the embassy.
Consisting of multiple post rotations each day, various physical security positions and over watch designated marksman positions, the platoon maintained a reactionary force capable of responding to any incident within the embassy compound within one minute. Further, the platoon went on to establish a secondary reactionary force capable of reaching the embassy from Naval Support Activity Bahrain within twenty minutes [this would be the reactionary force consisting of America’s 1stSgt and a horde of brutes with hatchets]. This vigil was maintained on a 24 hour basis for over three weeks. As a result, Embassy Manama could continue its vital diplomatic mission without fear, knowing that a platoon of United States Marines was within its perimeter. Whether it was the conduct of random anti-terrorism measures including numerous drills or providing timely reporting to the Regional Security Officer, Fourth Platoon was literally a life saver.
The platoon continued to conduct these operations until 05 April 2011, when upon order of the Chief of Mission, they redeployed to Naval Support Activity Bahrain and subsequently returned to the United States. Embassy Manama owes the Marines of Fourth Platoon, FAST Company a debt of gratitude that cannot be easily repaid. They are truly deserving of this award and it is with great hope that it will one day adorn the walls of Marine Corps Security Force Regiment in recognition of a job well done.
Not a bad day’s work if you ask me. Feel free to enjoy your weekend. U.S. Marines are manning the gates.