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Coast Guard's most elite train at Camp Pendleton

Coast Guardsmen from across the nation gathered at Camp Pendleton’s Edson Range, June 17, to conduct part of a 30-day indoctrination and assessment into one of the Coast Guard’s elite forces.

The participants are attempting to become part of the U. S. Coast Guard’s Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team. PACTACLET is a deployed specialized force charged with positioning Law Enforcement Detachments with U.S. naval vessels to assist in enforcing U.S. and international law.

A primary mission of the team is to thwart and interdict the trafficking of illicit drugs and contraband.

“Guardsmen interested in becoming a part of a DSF will need to be in above average physical fitness condition,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Castillo, training staff instructor, PACTACLET. “We deploy in (eight-to-ten people) teams, so we can’t have any weak links in the chain.”

As a part of the indoctrination, the guardsmen used Edson Range’s Leadership Reaction Course to test the applicants’ mettle and leadership capabilities.

The specialized force takes applicants from the ranks of petty officer third class (E-4) to lieutenant junior grade (O-2), and teaches them the basics of Coast Guard law enforcement, said Chief Petty Officer Gregoire A. Texier, oncoming training officer, PACTACLET.

“In addition to learning the specifics of their jobs, teamwork is the biggest part of what applicants need to learn during the indoctrination,” said Texier.

The deployed specialized force training heavily reinforces teamwork by creating an atmosphere that forces the guardsmen to work together, from the simplest tasks to advanced maneuvers, such as boarding trafficking vessels discretely at night. Teamwork is also stressed during many other aspects of the training, such as swimming exercises, physical training, and rifle range events.

The instructors consider being a team player to be an essential attribute to being a leader, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Blake Wagner, Green Team.

“This is the toughest and best training in the Coast Guard,” said Lt. j.g. Mark J. Byrne, Green Team. “It will prepare us for the unexpected during a real mission.”

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