News: 'Teufel Hunden:' America’s 911 Force
Story by Cpl. Mel Johnson
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – The Marine Corps prides itself as “America’s 911 force,” and with the uncertainty of natural disasters, and other possible conflicts, they have implemented the Continental U.S. Based Alert Force in support of this concept.
CBAF, formally known as the Global Contingency Force, is a program that provides a scalable and capable detail to react to emergencies across the globe in conjunction with other units.
Essentially a battalion task force, CBAF is a Headquarters Marine Corps program at the disposal of the commandant, and is separate from the Joint Staff programs already in place.
The CBAF’s job is relatively simple: be prepared to deploy within 96 hours, and be able to composite to a larger force depending on the mission. However, rapidly moving a company of more than 150 Marines from North Carolina to a crisis zone across the world is easier said than done.
“The exercise trains our ability to get Marines deployed quickly in response to a crisis anywhere in the world,” said 1st Lt. Jason Hotalen, 3rd Bn., 6th Marines actions officer. “We’re very good at deploying on set timelines as we’ve seen with Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom over the past 12 years, but now it’s about getting back to our roots of rapid response and being “Americas 911 force.”
The CBAF demonstrates the Marine Corps’ notion of being always prepared for the unexpected added Hotalen.
“Not only does it provide good training, but it validates the Marine Corps’ ability to deploy a battalion within a necessary window of time for a contingency,” explained the Toccoa, Ga., native.
With the company needing to be ready to deploy at a moment’s notice, there are specific requirements the unit needs to maintain. Everything from maintaining a high state of medical and dental readiness, to updating administrative paperwork, ensures the Marines can leave without any issues.
The battalion did encounter a few differences after having completed a similar drill for the Global Contingency Force months earlier.
“While the exercises were similar, a few things were notably different,” said Lt. Col. James A Ryans, the 3rd Bn., 6th Marines battalion commander. “Things like the amount of individuals, figuring out how much of everything would be needed, and the Marines performing an initial land and helo-borne assault leading into more local training.”
Ryans added there were some lessons that were relearned even though the drill was relatively easy.
“This time we were focused on the procedures to get out of town and how this drill would apply to real world consequences,” explained the Hampton, Va., native. “Being that some duties changed for certain individuals, it was about them being able to effectively execute the mission.”
The CBAF stands ready to respond to a variety of situations including humanitarian efforts, noncombatant evacuation operations, embassy reinforcement, terrorist attacks and more.
“When it’s all said and done, CBAF is about exercising how to get somewhere when needed,” Ryans explained. “Being able to provide well trained Marines to execute any task with the necessary tools to complete the mission.”