I don't usually tell Marine stories. They seldom put the Marines in a good light and that puts them with my SEAL stories. There but for the grace of God and having 2 brain cells to rub together.....
I flew down to Qatar and made a solemn promise to the Commander of the Qatari Defense Force that our little NAVCENT exercise would touch like a feather on his emirate. He and the other ministers believed me when I told them that we would send the offload preparation party on the two ships and there would be almost no footprint ashore. Silly me.
Went to the next planning conference, the MPC (the middle one, you see, not like the Initial One) and certainly, by God nothing like the Final Planning Conference. At the middle one, we had the son of the former Commandant of USMC. He was the CENTCOM planner out of McDill. It was a very laid back conference but included a rep from the 1/5th. Take note of him. He shows up at the FPC where all the skids are greased, the ways prepared, and we sort of tend to follow through on our promises.
Regrettably, at the FPC the first of the fifth gets up and states that he will obviously need to deploy 289 Marines to provide security for the ships and the OPP. I asked the bozo what happened to the old adage that "every Marine is a rifleman" and thus could be construed as self-guarding.
I went back for the exercise. Flew down there on the C-12 with the VADM and we had a look. No footprint ashore, no touch, won't even notice us and we ended up with something like 400 people ashore with every cop in the country guarding our watch relief convoys running from Camp Snoopy all the way to the port we were using. And back, 3 times a day, for two weeks.
I was once trapped in Qatar for 2 weeks by the machinations of our EOD det and the idiocy of one of the masters of one of our MSC furnished Army War Reserve Prepositioned Afloat Ships. I've never been back. I suspect that the general has my name on his terrorist watch list and I won't like it if I ever go back.
Happy Birthday USMC.