8th MP’s Special Reaction Team is the Army’s SWAT team

| August 18, 2011 | 0 Comments
An SRT member in 13th MP Det., 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde., displays his tools while preparing for a certification exercise at Fort Shafter, Aug. 10.

An SRT member in 13th MP Det., 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde., displays his tools while preparing for a certification exercise at Fort Shafter, Aug. 10.

Story and Photo by
Spc. Marcus Fichtl
8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

FORT SHAFTER — Dressed in black, armed to the teeth and equipped with every tool needed to make their presence felt, the Special Reaction Team swarmed abandoned houses, here, and raided a suspected drug hideout under the cover of darkness.

The team, part of the 13th Military Police Detachment, 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, 8th TSC, tested its skills during an SRT certification exercise, here, Aug. 10.

“The exercise tested the Soldiers from the Army Physical Fitness Test to weapon qualifications, finally culminating with crisis management exercises,” said Riff Mnatzakanian, certification exercise officer.

Crisis management exercises are developed to incorporate fundamental Soldiers’ skills with intense critical thinking, mimicking real-life scenarios where every decision means life or death.

“We test the team on three phases during a crisis management exercise,” Mnatzakanian said. “The first is their ability to respond to a crisis. What route do they take? How quickly can they get there?

“Second, we test their ability to plan and execute. Is the plan sound? Did they follow through on their plan?” he said. “Thirdly, we test their ability to debrief to the incident commander.”

The scenario had the SRT apprehend two drug suspects from their house.

After making their way onto Fort Shafter, Soldiers moved their snipers into positions, and then the slow, gradual process of planning and waiting until nightfall began.

The team identified the back door as the weak point, and then, in an instant, the team moved in, cut through fences, bashed through the back door and apprehended the suspects.

They processed the suspects, brought in the drug dogs, conducted an after-action review and relaxed, knowing the certification process was done.

But it was far from over. Just minutes after the SRT truck drove by, the second exercise of the night came into play.

Simulation rounds flew through the air, hitting MPs still on the scene and escalating what was, at first, a simple drug bust into a threatening situation.

The SRT members made their way back and hit the ground running with a synchronized movement that required firepower and finesse — one team taking out the gunmen, the other rescuing downed MPs.

As the assault team contained the suspects, the rescue team flanked and pulled out the injured MPs, then quickly melted back into the dark.

Slowly, the gunfire subdued. Within moments of the start of the fight, the dust settled, and the SRT team came out on top.

“This is the Army’s SWAT team,” Mnatzakanian said.


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Category: News, Training

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