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thedrifter
04-10-09, 07:51 AM
Posted on Fri, Apr. 10, 2009
Marines training at McEntire
By CHUCK CRUMBO
ccrumbo@thestate.com

Members of the Marine Corps’ recently formed Special Operations Command are training this week at McEntire Joint National Guard Base near Eastover.

The 2,400-acre home to the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing is one of four primary training sites in the U.S. for Marine commando units.

About 250 Marines are involved in the training, which goes through Sunday, said Capt. Jim Roth, spokesman for the S.C. Air Guard.

McEntire, though, isn’t the only site in South Carolina that the Marines are using.

The Marine unit, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., also are using S.C. Army National Guard’s McCrady Training Center on the eastern edge of Fort Jackson. And it will conduct the final phase of training at the S.C. Army Guard’s 308-acre Clarks Hill Training Site in McCormick County.

The Marines picked McEntire because they needed an airstrip for training and because it’s about 10 miles from McCrady, said spokesman Maj. Michael Armistead.

Having Marines train at McEntire is part of the military’s effort to get the different services working together on the same missions.

“The seamless integration of the various branches of the U.S. armed forces is key to our nation’s defense, and we’re proud to be on the forefront of this evolutionary and sometimes revolutionary concept,” said Col. Scott Williams, McEntire commander.

The Marines are undergoing training on foreign internal defense and unconventional warfare, similar to operations the U.S. military is conducting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Marines trained in foreign internal defense are able to help the militaries of other countries provide for their own national security, and unconventional warfare is when we partner with non-U.S. forces to conduct military operations,” Armistead said.

The Marine Special Operations Command was activated in 2006.

Ellie