MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The Combat Center’s Provost Marshal’s Office trains a different type of military policeman: the Auxiliary Marine.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Danny E. Pilgrim is the only Marine currently participating in the Auxiliary Marine Program with PMO. During the day he is the 7th Marine Regiment Ordnance Officer but on the weekend he is a military policeman. He has the same duties and requirements of all military police, but chooses his own work schedule.
The Auxiliary Marine Program is run by PMO, which takes volunteering active duty Marines and sailors from around the base and trains them as reserve military policemen. The program lets participants decide when to work only having to work 24 hours a month to maintain their status.
“Not a day has gone by that I have not wanted to go to work the next day,” said Pilgrim, a San Antonio, Texas native. “I enjoy every aspect of working in the armory and at PMO.”
Pilgrim has been an Auxiliary Marine since 1997, when he was a corporal stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. In 2006 he was stationed aboard the Combat Center and in February, he volunteered for the program again, working the night shift every weekend.
The program gives participants experience in law enforcement, which gives them
an advantage when trying to find jobs as a police officer after getting out of the military, said Pilgrim.
“It is a great program that exposes you to certain elements of law enforcement that are similar to civilian law enforcement,” said Pilgrim, who plans on becoming a police officer in Waco, Texas. “The Marine Corps is the first chapter of my life, when I retire I will be moving on to the next chapter from serving my country to serving my community.”
When a Marine applies to the program they must have approval from their own command. Then they must complete two weeks of classes and meet all qualifications such as a medical and criminal record check. They are also well trained about gate procedures, how to arrest someone, using handcuffs, how to respond to certain calls and patrolling streets.
When they finish the initial screening and classes they are moved to level two, which places the Auxiliary Marine with a field training officer. The field training officer monitors the trainee at all times as the Auxiliary Marine completes a checklist of tasks.
“The checklist goes through everything they are required to learn,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. David Gomez, PMO’s provost sergeant. “So when they first handcuff someone, their field training officer will check that off the list.”
After completing the checklist, the Auxiliary Marine must also perform duties as a desk sergeant before moving to level one. The upgraded level is the same as level two, but more in depth, while giving the Auxiliary Marine more responsibility by working alone.
When PMO deems the Auxiliary Marine is fully trained, they are issued a pistol,
badge and handcuffs and are placed where they are needed, whether on gate duty or patrolling the streets.
The Auxiliary Marine Program gives participants everything they need to make the base a safer place, while helping them prepare for a possible future in law enforcement.