CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan — As the smoke cleared in the small room, a Marine bellows “Room clear!” With those words, the Marines of Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Company Pacific stacked up on the next door and prepared to engage the next set of targets with speed and aggression.
The Marines, with FAST Company Pacific, 7th Fleet, based out of Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, practiced close-quarters battle skills at the close-quarters battle facility at Camp Hansen Aug. 11.
“The primary mission of FAST Company is the reinforcement or recapture of critical U.S. infrastructure in the Pacific Command area of operations,” said Staff Sgt. Max F. Veliz, a platoon sergeant with the company. “Our secondary objective is visit, board, search and seizure operations in the PACOM area of operations.”
As the sole FAST Company in the Pacific, it is essential to be ready at any moment to respond to any potential threat in any potential environment, according to Veliz. CQB skills are used in confined areas and allow Marines to quickly enter a confined space and take control of that space and any situation they may encounter.
The Marines used tactics devised to allow quick entry without giving advanced warning to potential enemies. As the fire team stacks up on an entry point, two members of the team prepare to enter the area. Once the entry is made, Marines begin to clear the room in a fluid motion. The Marines practiced their procedures multiple times without live ammunition before progressing to live rounds.
“It is the Marine Corps’ policy that whenever we use live rounds, we must perform dry runs before,” said Veliz. “The training that we do primarily involves live rounds and Okinawa provides for better ranges and better training opportunities for the Marines.”
The training in the close-quarters battle facility is a great opportunity, according to Lance Cpl. Cameron S. Barron, a fire team leader with FAST Company.
“The goal for coming out here is the sustainment of mission essential skill sets,” said Capt. Joseph M. Lipiec, a platoon commander with the company. “Everyone in the platoon went through a five-week course before coming out here, and this allows the Marines to stay sharp.”
Words and photographs by Lance Cpl. Nicholas S. Ranum , Marine Corps Bases Japan