MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Company “A” of the Foreign Military Training Unit officially activated Friday as the first functioning company in FMTU.
FMTU is part of the new United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, which activated last month and joined the three other existing service components (Navy, Army, and Air Force) in the United States Special Operations Command.
The Marines of FMTU have worked hard since July to form and train teams to help fight the global war on terrorism. The informal ceremony featured enlisted Marines as a way to boost the morale of the troops.
Company “A” includes eight teams of 11 Marines and will expand to 12 teams in the coming months.
“This is very exciting time for us,” said Cpl. Paul Maestas, an Intelligence Analyst with FMTU. “We started from scratch with about 50 Marines and along with all the training it has been very tough.”
FMTU is a unique unit that specializes in Foreign Internal Defense and Unconventional Warfare. The Marines of FMTU are trained in skills that include foreign language, marksmanship, foreign weapon use and other military combat skills. They will deploy to developing countries to train and advise foreign military forces in combat skills and counter-terrorism operations.
“The training we get here provides us great opportunities for our future careers,” said Sgt. Douglas D. Gilland, a 27-year-old infantryman with Team-8, Company “A”. “Not only that, but we get to work with other types of commands and deploy to unique places. I can hardly wait for that.”
FMTU is constantly in search of new volunteers to join its ranks. The unit consists mostly of NCOs and above, who offer a wealth of experience and maturity, Gilland, a Starkville, Miss., native said.
Job fields featured in FMTU include infantrymen, corpsmen, and intelligence specialists. Experienced instructors and Marines who have attended and completed military schools are also needed.
“This unit needs to be filled with independent thinkers and operators with good initiative and great judgment”, Maestas, a native of Oakridge, Tenn., said. “We are always hoping to find these types of people and retain them for as long as possible, so we can continue to strengthen our unit.”
As the guidon unfurled, the Marines understood that they are part of something that will go down in Marine Corps history.
“It is great knowing that years from now, we can say we were here and started it all. We put that brick in the wall,” said a smiling Gilland, who was the narrator for the ceremony. “Nothing is better than that. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
For additional information contact:
MARSOC, PAO, PSC Box 20116, Camp Lejeune, N.C. 28542
Telephone: (910) 451-2900