YUMA, Ariz. - Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., welcomed a new provost marshal this year and he is taking charge of the Marines and civilian police officers here on the station. Maj. Jeremy W. Thompson took charge of the provost marshal’s office on June 16.
Thompson is now leading Marines and civilians a0longside Maj. Rigoberto Valenzuela, civilian deputy provost marshal, and Master Gunnery Sgt. Bernard D. Coe, provost sergeant for the station.
“He’s a good, down to earth officer. Meaning that he can have a good time and, at the same time, enforce good order and discipline, but without being overbearing,” said Coe about Thompson. “I would say his leadership style is relaxed, but demanding. He puts a lot of trust in Marines and subordinates to do their job, which is good for this military occupational specialty (MOS).”
After 20 years, both as an officer and an enlisted Marine, Thompson has a background deeply ingrained in his MOS. This history enables him to mentor Marines and civilian officers under his command.
After serving as an enlisted Marine with the military police for five and a half years, then Sergeant Thompson completed the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) at the University of Washington before earning his commission in Dec. of 1998.
“He’s a very outgoing person, very straight forward and an honest individual,” said Staff Sgt. Charles Hardesty, assistant kennel master and chief trainer for the station K-9 unit. “It impacts others well knowing that he was prior enlisted and then became an officer and knowing how he works. What he’s done for Marines definitely helps with people gaining trust and definitely puts him a step forward in helping people.”
Thompson continued his military career as a Marine Corps officer in the military police force.
“That feeling of being able to help people just made me realize that when I became commissioned that I was going to stay in law enforcement and help people,” said Thompson, recounting why he chose to stay in the military police force. “I was in college, visiting my family in their hometown, and we were river tubing when, along the way, two women got trapped under a log. I was able to jump in and rescue them and save one of the women’s lives.”
Even after becoming an officer, Thompson continued his commitment to helping people, strengthened his dedication to duty and remained an understanding supervisor to accomplish the mission.
One example that shows how his leadership has molded him to be the provost marshal he is today is his involvement and action in the battle of Najaf while attached with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
Thompson served as the force protection and anti-terrorism officer in Aug. 2004, in support of operation Iraqi Freedom II. During this time, Thompson performed his duties in an exemplary and highly professional manner. He provided leadership to those under his command during heavy fighting against the Mahdi militia. His decisive leadership and courage during this battle inspired the Marines and soldiers under his charge and led to successful attacks to free the city.
“I’ve worked with Maj. Thompson for several years, and I knew him before at Quantico, before he was the provost marshal, and I can say that he’s a great guy and that he always has everyone’s best interest at heart,” said Hardesty. “He definitely steps out and helps individuals. Especially, if he sees potential, he will do as much as he can to help them out.”
The Provost Marshals Office provides MCAS Yuma with operational and supportive service departments with a mission to protect and serve the station by enforcing rules, regulations and laws. PMO also has a mission to provide a safe and secure environment for all permanent and visiting personnel.
“We’re here to provide a safe environment. That is the most important thing, to provide a safe environment for the Marines and their families and the civilians who work on this base,” said Thompson. “Sometimes that involves a law enforcement function, and we have the capabilities to do that. We are Marines first, and we take care of our Marines, their families, and the civilians that work here and we are always working to show the community that we are there for them.”
With half of PMO’s force consisting of civilian officers, the dynamics are different when it comes to law enforcement on MCAS Yuma.
“There are challenges to manage the civilian work force and the Marine work force, because there are different rules”, said Thompson. “When half of your force is civilian, it presents challenges of how to not only employ the civilians alongside the Marines but to do it correctly and fairly for them.”
According to the staff at PMO, the morale has lifted a lot since Thompson’s arrival and that his implementation of good practices, such as daily post checks, has had a big impact on the Marines and civilian police officers motivation.
“My philosophy on how to run the provost marshal’s office is that we [PMO] are here to protect the base, serve the people and enforce rules and regulations. We are here for them, not the other way around, and without them we don’t exist.”
A safer air station and getting back to the Corps core concepts is one of the top priorities of Thompson as he dedicates his time to efficiently manning personnel and hours at PMO.