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FAST Team Returns From Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070323-22
Release Date: 3/23/2007 3:38:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Gabriel Weber, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Det. Japan

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Marines from the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) returned to Yokosuka Naval Base on March 21, following a two-month deployment with USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19).

Members from 2nd FAST Company, 1st Platoon, were embarked on Blue Ridge to provide security for the deployment, said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Prull, platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon.

“We were on the Blue Ridge for security for the ship, to be a reactionary force, to augment the Navy personnel on the ship, and also to train the naval personnel on crew-serve weapons, M-16’s, and other small arms,” said Prull.

While it is not unusual for Marines to deploy with Navy ships, FAST Marines are tasked with providing security in a variety of scenarios.

“As far as FAST goes, our job is just security; it can be in anything,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Womack, one of the Marines deployed on Blue Ridge. “When it was first developed it was actually for embassies, in case they were taken over by terrorists, but they’ve actually changed the mission statement and since then it’s gone into more of a security type element.”

The training pipeline for FAST Marines is also different from that of other Marines assigned to the fleet.

“We do more CQB (Close Quarters Battle) and advanced urban combat,” said Prull. “We’re trained for specific things like convoys, site security. One of our big missions is embassy reinforcement; we’re trained well in that.”

In addition to attending basic training and Marine Corps’ school of infantry, FAST Marines also receive an additional two months of training at basic security guard school. The Marines train extensively once they are assigned to a FAST platoon, as well.

“The majority of your training is going to come from whatever unit you go to,” said Womack.

Marines assigned to a FAST platoon also have opportunities to attend additional schools and learn a unique skill set within the platoon.

“That’s one thing about being in a FAST company,” said Prull, “they have a lot of special schools they get the opportunity to go to that they wouldn’t get in the fleet.”

While on deployment with Blue Ridge, some of the platoon members also opted to participate in the traditional, Navy crossing-the-line ceremony that occurs when a ship crosses over the equator.

“That was something that, I think, brought us and the Navy together,” said Lance Cpl. Samuel White. “It was actually a lot of fun.”

Now that the Marines have returned to Yokosuka Naval Base, the platoon will begin training again to keep their skills up to speed.

“We’re going to be doing a lot of training,” said Prull. “We’re here waiting for a mission.”

2nd FAST Company, 1st Platoon is based out of Yorktown, Va.

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