In the News

News | Jan. 20, 2021

Watch commander – ensuring safety for all

By LCpl Alex Fairchild

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Staling Amador, a watch commander with the Camp Foster Provost Marshal’s Office (PMO) and a native of Miami, Florida, shares his story as a Marine within Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific – Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler.

PMO watch commanders are responsible for responding quickly and effectively to emergency calls while ensuring the safety of Marines, Status of Forces Agreement personnel, and local nationals on and off base. In addition, they oversee the training and mentorship of their patrolmen, to ensure they possess the knowledge, physical endurance and mental fortitude to successfully respond to a variety of situations.

“It is critical to be properly prepared and trained for every type of situation, no matter how small,” said Amador. “You never know what situation or emergency you may have to respond to in a moment’s notice.”

Amador explained that a continuous commitment to mission readiness is important due to the wide variety of calls and situations that they must respond to at any given time.

“Cpl. Amador and other watch commanders have coached me step-by-step on how to respond to different situations effectively,” said Lance Cpl. Carlos Aguirre, a patrolman with the PMO, H&S Battalion, and a native of San Antonio, Texas. “On my first patrol I was anxious, but through experience and repetition, I learned how to remain cognizant and handle calls with confidence.”

Aguirre explained that as a patrolman he helps secure the safety and protection of Marines and local nationals by assisting the watch commander during radio operations, investigative interviews and documenting every situation.

He added that they took an oath to defend and protect, and that oath is taken very seriously.

Amador further explained that in addition to working 60-hour work weeks, Marines with the PMO, H&S Battalion, conduct regular training ranging from non-lethal weapons to proper handcuffing and weapons maintenance procedures.

“Calls can range from an alarm going off to medical evacuations,” said Amador. “I have to know that my patrolmen can tactfully handle any situation and have my back. It’s all about cohesion and trust because someday these patrolmen will take my place as watch commander.”

The mission of the PMO is to provide law enforcement, investigative and security services as directed by the commanding general.