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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Expeditionary Training Base"

Special Reaction Team hones room clearing skills

By Cpl. Keenan Zelazoski | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | November 19, 2015


CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The Camp Pendleton Special Reaction Team conducted training in an abandoned armory to hone their room-clearing tactics on Nov. 19, 2015. 

The Special Reaction Team is a team of highly skilled military policemen and essentially they handle all the high-risk situations that can arise aboard an installation.  

“Potentially, you’re getting called any time day or night, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and when you get called to the office, you probably won’t know what you’re dealing with,” said Gunnery Sgt. Dustin Schellenger, the team commander for the Special Reaction Team aboard Camp Pendleton.  “Often times, if we are called upon, we are being called to go into places even traditional law enforcement wouldn’t go in.”

These call-ins can include domestic abuse situations, hostage situations or even vehicle assault situations. 

“It’s really dangerous,” said Schellenger.  “It could potentially cost them their lives or the lives of others if they don’t do their job properly.”

In order to provide the best chance of success in these high-risk situations, the teams train constantly.

“This training really helps us visualize ourselves in the different situations we can be put in and helps us look for consistencies between structures.” said Sgt. Jacob Montgomery, another member of the Special Reaction Team.

Although the team is rarely called to action, the importance of their training cannot be emphasized enough, according to Savage.

 “We try to train in any building we can get our hands on, much like the armory we trained in today,” said Cpl. Nicholas Savage, an entry team member of the Special Reaction Team, Marine Corps Police Department, Security Emergency Services Battalion.  “Every additional piece of information we can acquire about a structure or an area before we operate in it could make the difference,” said Savage.

Not only does the Special Reaction Team need to gain as much information as possible, they need to remain proficient in all the equipment they use.

The two primary weapons used are the M4 Carbine rifle, and the Marine Corps’ Colt M45 Close Quarters Battle pistol. Members of an SRT must be trained and qualified in both.

 “The safety of Camp Pendleton is our job so we have to train to a standard that we ourselves are safe and we’re keeping other people safe,” said Montgomery.