NAVAL STATION SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Marines from 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and Sailors assigned to the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group practiced heightened security measures here Jan. 24-26 in preparation for their upcoming six-month deployment to the Pacific and Arabian Gulf Regions. The exercise, designed to enhance the force protection posture of ships docked at foreign ports, demonstrated the MEU?s ability to thwart terrorist attacks by preventing their access to the ship, according to Capt. Kevin Prindiville, force protection officer, Command Element, 11th MEU. Marines from Battalion Landing Team 2/1 along with military police and Explosive Ordnance Disposal detachments detachment from MEU Service Support Group 11 worked together with the crews of USS Boxer, USS Cleveland and USS Harpers Ferry to provide security for the ARG while in port. The Marines conducted vehicle and personnel searches at pier entrances, manned machinegun positions on and around the ships, and provided roving patrols along the piers adjacent to the ships. ?If a boat comes toward the ship and poses a threat, we?ll engage it,? Kersey, Colo. native, Cpl. Josh Kissler said as he manned a gun position atop the USS Boxer?s flightdeck. ?I did port security in United Arab Emirates during my last deployment. We did it the same way.? Terrorist attacks against U.S. military personnel around the world were propelled into the national spotlight after the recent suicide bombing of the USS Cole. Although Marines continuously practice force protection, training events like this one are important for everyone involved, according to Capt. Vincent Lumalcuri, commanding officer, G Company, Battalion Landing Team 2/1, 11th MEU. ?We must always be vigilant,? Lumalcuri said. ?The USS Cole attack is a reminder of the seriousness of this training. Vigilance and coordination with all the agencies involved are the challenges.? Naval Criminal Investigative Service and military working dog teams from the Naval Station were called upon to assist the security force. All agencies during were key in maintaining security, according to Prindiville. Before the ARG ships arrive at a foreign port, liaison with the host nation is made to determine which security measures must be implemented based upon the threat condition, according to Prindiville. ?Security assessments of each port let us know what the host nation has available and what we need to provide,? he said. ?If the local police force is inadequate, we can coordinate with our (higher headquarters) to provide the assets needed.? During the exercise, local military agencies, like NCIS, represented host nation support. Their combined efforts helped in preventing mock truck bomb attacks, unauthorized ship access and small boat attacks. ?Everything went well,? Lumalcuri said. ?The Marines did what was expected of them. Nothing got to the ship.?