HELMAND PROVINCE -- A great leader makes for a great team, but when that team is comprised of thousands of Marines and sailors spread out at dozens of different locations, a leader must have an understanding of how each area affects his team members.
The Personal Security Detachment, 1st Marine Logistics Group, is a specific group tasked with escorting Brig. Gen. John J. Broadmeadow, Commanding General, 1st MLG (Fwd), to all areas of operation throughout Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
“Our mission is to provide security for the commanding general while allowing him to conduct his battle field circulations,” said Sgt. Michael Johnson, Personal Security Officer, PSD, 1st MLG (Fwd). “My sole mission is to act as a personal bodyguard for the CG no matter where he goes.”
Although Johnson acts as an individual escort for the commanding general regardless of his method of travel, the whole PSD team is required for ground movements. While aerial travel throughout the province is the fastest way to get around, Brig. Gen. Broadmeadow believes it is also necessary for him to conduct ground travel.
“As the leader of the MLG, it’s important for me to understand what our Marines go through, and I need to see that first hand myself,” said Brig. Gen. Broadmeadow. “A lot of what we do involves being on the road. MLG Marines spend more time on the road than just about anybody.”
As commanding general of the Logistics Combat Element, Brig. Gen. Broadmeadow owns all of the combat logistics patrols that travel to forward operating bases, combat outposts and patrol bases. Since 1st MLG (Fwd)’s arrival in January, Brig. Gen. Broadmeadow has been in charge of multiple combat logistics battalions, whose main missions are to provide general and direct support to members operating at dozens of FOBs.
“By being able to get him out there on these roads, he can have a better understanding of what the CLPs go through,” said Staff Sgt. Vince Reynolds, PSD chief, PSD, 1st MLG (Fwd). “He’s actually able to go from FOB to FOB to see the conditions of MLG personnel and see how they are impacting the mission. In my opinion, it’s an invaluable tool.”
Thanks to the PSD, Brig. Gen. Broadmeadow is able to travel the area in his own convoy without the usual time constraints of ground travel.
“Embedding in a four-day CLP so I can get a feel for what happens may be good once or twice, but I can’t do that all the time,” said Brig. Gen. Broadmeadow. “I can’t spend all my time on the road. What the PSD does for me, it allows me to experience what our Marines experience day in and day out, but do it in a much more compressed timeline that fits what I do out there.”
Being the sole escort team for the commanding general builds a very personal relationship between the PSD members and Brig. Gen. Broadmeadow.
“Being the lead vehicle, if we’re going out somewhere dangerous, the CG will pull us aside and give us a pep talk,” said Lance Cpl. Taylor Navin, a driver with PSD, 1st MLG (Fwd).
Brig. Gen. Broadmeadow also said he feels a personal connection to the team who has been by his side throughout this deployment.
It’s not just the CG of the MLG; it’s me,” said Brig. Gen. Broadmeadow. “In reality, what they are there for is to make sure I get from place to place safely. These Marines and their demonstrated professionalism are very important to me personally. You develop a bond with people like that -- who put themselves on the line to take care of me and the things that I have to do.”
The PSD has completed 33 ground missions and traveled almost 4,000 miles throughout Helmand Province since January and is ready to finish their tour.
“They’re excited to be wrapping up a successful deployment but they don’t want to see it end,” said Reynolds. “They enjoyed the mission that they were doing, and appreciate the hard work they have put into making PSD successful.”