CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa (January 19, 2007) -- The Camp Hansen Camp Guard isn't just a fire watch. The Marines and sailors with the section ensure service members' safety and welfare and contribute to the security of the installation.

Service members with Camp Guard, also called the Auxiliary Security Force, are trained by the Provost Marshal's Office to provide much-needed assistance during liberty hours due to a PMO personnel shortage brought on by commitments to Operation Enduring Freedom.

Each day from 4 p.m. until 9 a.m., Camp Guard's mission is to preserve order, protect life and property, and enforce regulations. However there is more to this mission than meets the eye, according to Staff Sgt. Sonya L. Smith, the Camp Hansen Camp Guard chief.

In correlation with the camp's anti-terrorism force protection plan, the Guard provides security during increased threat conditions or when authorized by the camp commander, Smith said.

"Since there are not enough MPs here, we have the authority to do some of the things they do," Smith said. "If there is a fight or if someone is lying in a ditch, we will solve the situation. If the problem becomes out of our hands, we will then call PMO. We are here to eliminate many (routine) problems that PMO usually handles on the southern camps."

The unit operates at or close to 40 personnel through the Camp Augmentation Program, which receives personnel from various units. The billets are six months long for permanent personnel or until the end of a unit's deployment for temporary personnel.

Cpl. Daniel M. Martin, a corporal of the guard, volunteered to augment Camp Guard before his unit from Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif., deployed here.

"Our chain of command told us about certain billets that needed to be filled before we came here," said Martin, of Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment. "My friends with my unit told me that Camp Guard was good to go when they were here on Camp Hansen during a previous (unit deployment program) tour. So I volunteered for it and never looked back."

To serve on the Camp Guard, a Marine or sailor must not have any non-judicial punishments or negative page 11 entries and must have already completed annual training requirements. A Marine or sailor must also have a first-class physical fitness test score and cannot be overweight.

"For these Marines and sailors to enforce the rules, they must have a clean record and be squared away," Smith said. "If anyone one of them doesn't meet the requirements, then they are not setting the example."

Other than ensuring Marines and sailors have their ID and liberty cards before heading out in town, the Guard also enforces the wear of proper civilian attire and patrols the installation looking for anything out of the ordinary. They also patrol Kin Town to ensure the safety of service members there.

Smith said the work is demanding but rewarding.

"To work here, everyone has the opportunity to better themselves," she said. "People leave here pistol qualified and learn a variety of defense maneuvers that PMO teaches them."