SpecOps partners with MCLB Barstow Rail

April 23, 2020

U.S. Army Special Operations Command partnered with Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow on the Yermo Annex aboard the base over Super Bowl weekend.

“Cyber space is integrated into all portions of our lives from computers to smart light bulbs,” said Lt. Col. Joshua Thiel, Special Operations Training Detachment commander. “As almost everyone has experienced, cyber space can steal our personnel information or cause our computers to crash. Malicious individuals or nations could attack our transportation infrastructure. (So, we engaged in this collaboration) in order to better understand the cyber aspects of rail transportation to better protect our nation. “

One goal of the mission was to enhance mutual understanding of the physical security of infrastructure and learn the capabilities of the resident Marine Corps Railhead Operations Group supervisor Chad Hildebrandt and his team. They also had the opportunity to learn from those experienced individuals regarding railway transportation protocols, techniques and strategies.

“Rail Operations personnel provide training to the Special Operations Community in myriad skills focused around locomotives, railheads, and train movements,” Hildebrandt said. “During this particular training evolution, RHOG personnel provided periods of instruction, assisted in the planning of the exercise, and during the event worked both as Range Safety Officers and support personnel for the training itself.”

“USASOC conducts partnership training with local forces frequently; in all cases safety and learning are the top priorities. No live ammunition is used. Observer-controllers provide an extra layer of safety during the event and feedback after the event.”

A large portion of the RHOG participated, along with two Special Operations teams that range in size. The training provides a lot of hands-on experiential learning so that attendees can embrace classroom lectures, but then cement that learning with actual work on the railcars, and at the railhead.

“It’s an immersive style of learning where we teach, we embrace their experiences as well, and then put everything to the test in real time movements,” Hildebrandt said. “We teach RHOG courses to all branches of the military, from a variety of